Community groups pressure City Council members to defund Oakland police

Julian Glover Image
Monday, June 15, 2020
This image shows protesters demanding to defund the police in Oakland, California on June 15, 2020.
This image shows protesters demanding to defund the police in Oakland, California on June 15, 2020.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Dozens of Oakland residents marched to a number of Oakland City Council members' homes Monday morning, demanding the elected officials defund Oakland police as the city considers budget revisions.

Shortly after 7 a.m. a number of Oakland residents gathered outside of Oakland District 5 Councilman Noel Gallo's home.

There were drums, there was a mariachi band, and artists took to the streets to leave behind messages with their demands: "Defund OPD."

"We don't need more tear gas, we don't need more rubber bullets. We need more funding for the services that are critical to us," said Liz Suk with the community-based group Oakland Rising.

Councilman Gallo did come out of his home to speak to his constituents.

"We're asking you to make a commitment to defund OPD by 50%," one constituent said to Gallo.

RELATED: Oakland police outline reform plan, marchers call on Oakland mayor to defund police

Gallo said he hears the message loud and clear and he is also interested in further investing in social service, particularly in youth.

"I also agree that I need to disinvest from other departments - including the police," Gallo told ABC7 news.

In North Oakland, another large group organized a march to District 1 Councilman Dan Kalb's home where they voice their demands to cut OPD's budget by 50% and reinvest in social services.

The group painted "Black Lives Matter" in bold letters just outside of the councilman's home.

One of the youngest in the crowd was a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Oakland Technical High School.

"I don't need a police officer to ask me if I have a hall pass to go to the bathroom. There's just no use in that to me. It contributes directly to the school to prison pipeline," said Satya Zamudio.

RELATED: Oakland Unified School District superintendent recommends eliminating district police force

The group knocked on Kalb's door, inviting him to speak. No one answered.

Minutes later a car caravan pulled up to District 6 Councilman Lorne Taylor's home to deliver a letter urging him to defund OPD. No one answered.

"We want things that will help build our community and help us keep each other safe and right now what we see happening in this country is not okay," said Kimi Lee of the group Bay Rising.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has been vocal about not defunding the police department.

Schaaf advocated in better training for police instead of divestment recently on Midday Live.

On Tuesday, Oakland City Council takes up a number of issues on police reform and revisions to the city's budget.

RELATED: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf addresses defunding police, says city needs to invest in reform instead

Schaaf has called for $122 million in budget cuts as the city faces a deficit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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