Push to reinvest in Oakland community services 1 year after murder of George Floyd

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Push to reinvest in Oakland 1 year after murder of Floyd
Today marks one year since the murder of George Floyd. With that case and others, there has come a push to defund police departments across the nation. That push is strong in Oakland.

OAKLAND, Calf. (KGO) -- Monday afternoon there was another violent killing in Oakland. This time a man shot to death a block from the police station. In fact, some officers tell us they heard the gunshots.

The shooting marks the 55th homicide of the year in Oakland and it isn't even the latest. Another person was killed Monday night. That's more than double what we saw at this time last year. There are big decisions to be made going forward. Tuesday marks one year since the murder of George Floyd and with that case and others, there has come a push to defund police departments across the nation. That push is strong in Oakland.

"Right now the gun violence is out of control!"

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That from Oakland District 5 councilmember Noel Gallo. He's referring to the current crime state in Oakland. Monday a man was gunned down a block from the Oakland Police Department. From Sky 7 at least 25 shell casings could be seen. The killing marks the latest in a surge of violence in The Town.

"African American community, Latino community, and we are killing each other and I live in an area where I see the gang activity," says Gallo.

Gallo says the city is in the process of shifting resources from the police department, which is currently already understaffed, at 680 officers. He says the department should have 780 officers. Going forward Gallo says churches, schools, and community members must come together.

"What is to blame for the spike in crime is massive continuous disinvestment and disenfranchisement of the Black community," says Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project. Brooks says Oakland Police need to be defunded and that money should be reinvested in community services.

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"We've chosen to invest in punitive violent policing instead of investing in things that keep communities safe like education, economic opportunities, clean neighborhoods, mental health, and emotional supports," says Brooks.

Jack Saunders of Coalition for a Better Oakland disagrees.

"To cut the police force 50 percent in the middle of a crime wave seems peculiar at best and it might even be corrupt," says Saunders who does believe that the implementation of mental health specialists is a must.

Former FBI Agent Rick Smith doesn't believe past criminals have been held accountable.

"There are no consequences to crime, very little and that's the problem, it's the people that commit these crimes," says Smith who is now a private investigator with Cannon Street.

Gallo says the city council is currently working with the mayor to address the best ways to reorganize resources from police to other departments like fire.

"What we are going to have to demand is more community action, not only to report those that are committing the crimes but right now it is out of control, we're not even in the summertime yet," says Gallo.