OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Organizers rallied supporters for Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price on the steps of the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland on Sunday afternoon to counter what they see as backlash against the newly elected D.A.
"Yes, we are facing the backlash. That's what it is. The backlash. Any time you stand up for justice and freedom, there is going to be a backlash," Price said to the crowd.
Price outlined some of her accomplishments since taking office in January, which included prioritizing victim services, hiring more lawyers and investigators, establishing new guidelines and procedures for charging and sentencing, and launching new programs around restorative justice -- policies which she campaigned on.
"We launched a pilot program in collaboration with the court for transitional youth, ages 18-to-25, who got caught with a gun for the first time, to divert them from the criminal legal system and pair them with mentors. And not give them a felony," said Price, who declined interviews with the media.
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Her supporters criticized some early recall efforts and strongly refuted claims that Price has been soft on crime.
"It seems before, the D.A.s, the deputy D.A.s, they could throw whatever enhancements they wanted," Paola Laverde, with the Alameda County Central Committee, said at the rally. "She is going, 'No, we are going to take a look at these,' because we have over criminalized young people. We have over criminalized people of color. And she is saying, 'No, we are going to reform this.' And people don't like it."
A group of about a dozen people held a counter-rally at Oakland City Hall before the Price rally, and then later at the Price rally.
"If anybody takes a life, they need all the enhancements they can get. They need to be in jail for life, with no parole," said Senior Pastor Fabian Robinson.
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They argue that Price hasn't been transparent in some cases, such as with Jasper Wu. He was the young child who was killed by stray bullets on I-880 during what police say was a gun battle between rival gangs.
They are also concerned about Price's sentencing policies.
"Like I said, if there was more transparency in these cases, where we could understand, I think that would really help the community," says an AAPI organizer, who only wanted to be identified as "UpliftingSFBay."
Meanwhile, Price told the crowd: "This system was not broken in a day. It will not be fixed in 100 days. It's just not possible."
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Price said she inherited an organization that was in chaos. And, she criticized the media for allegedly not being as critical of her predecessor Nancy O'Malley.
She ended by reminding the crowd she won the election on a platform for change, which she intends to deliver.
"Change takes time. And patience. And courage. And telling the truth," Price said.
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