For Immediate Release—January 23, 2013
Despite Community Outrage, Contract Moves Forward, Bratton Remains Controversial
Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Stop the Injunctions Coalition
Ph. 510 444 0484
Oakland—After a marathon meeting that saw an attendance of more than 500 Oakland residents and nearly 4 hours of public testimony, the Oakland City Council voted in the early hours of Wednesday morning to move forward with spending $250,000 on a contract to hire controversial police consultant William Bratton. Bratton’s notorious policing methods—including stop and frisk, gang injunctions, and curfews—remained center stage, as countless residents called for an end to harmful, divisive policing policies in Oakland. Despite several Councilmembers turning out pro-Bratton elements of their districts and a strong police presence in the chambers that heightened tension among participants, many residents stuck the meeting out to the bitter end, calling for public safety strategies that were more inclusive of community input and participation. Toward that end, Oaklanders recommended broader and better after school and restorative justice programs, job training, and services for residents returning from prison and jail.
Noting how the Council seemed to be playing into people’s fear, Councilperson Desley Brooks took a strong stand against the contract asking questions about what had been delivered on the existing contract and suggesting that the Council had been sloppy in considering the proposal to amend it. “Rejecting this contract tonight,” Brooks stated, “isn’t about not addressing crime. It’s about doing the hard work that needs to be done.” Brooks offered the lone voice of dissent on the Council.
“Sure it’s frustrating that the Council is moving ahead with the contract and Bratton despite all common sense, but many residents seem more ready than ever to band together and fight for a smarter, more sustainable way of dealing with harm in Oakland,” said Rachel Herzing of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition. “Our work will continue to fight Bratton-style zero tolerance policing however and whenever it comes to our neighborhoods—to carve out wider and wider spaces for the real innovation and creativity in implementing strategies that are viable, that take into account the knowledge and experience of the community itself, and that are effective in making our city healthy and strong.”
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