Oakland: You Have a Choice-Do You Choose Real Police Oversight or Something Less?

The Civilian Police Commission & the Coalition for Police Accountability Issue Joint Proposal for Ballot Measure

This Proposal Went Out to the City Council this Week-Vote is Next Week for a November Ballot Measure

[Please scroll to the end for a copy of the Alameda County Democratic Party’s Resolution on Oversight passed last night]

We got yet another reminder of the crying need for effective and powerful civilian oversight of the police from both the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the brutal overreactions of police departments across the country to the resulting demonstrations. 

But Oakland has the potential to be different and to lead the way for the rest of the country. Although we have a strong community-led police commission to oversee our police department, the City Administration’s resistance has hobbled the Commission. The Commission’s powers need to be clarified in a new ballot measure that would further amend the City Charter.

The Coalition for Police Accountability has partnered with the Police Commission to create a joint Charter amendment that will allow the Commission to be truly effective in ensuring that the Oakland Police Department is firmly and permanently dedicated to constitutional policing. When this Charter amendment is enacted, we will finally be able to transition from federal court oversight through the NSA to local oversight by the Commission. 

Those who see political advantage in opposing progressive reform have been promoting the idea that the Commission is trying to enlarge its power and interfere with the operations of the Police Department. That is simply not true. Please look carefully at the changes we are proposing and evaluate them for yourselves. 

The main changes from current law that the Coalition and the Police Commission are proposing are as follows:

1. The Commission can hire its own attorneys who will report to it and not the City Attorney. 

2. The Commission will be able to hire an Inspector General who will audit the police department and be able to recommend policy changes to the Commission. 

3. The Commission will have access to all police department records and files.

4. The Commission will be able to impose discipline in cases where the investigations have not been completed in time or when required body camera footage has not been a component of the investigation. 

The Police Commission/Coalition draft is based on a draft that already had a lot of input from City Council members as well as the City Attorney. We have accepted much, but not all, of what was presented to Commission Chair Regina Jackson on May 22.  The items that we deleted from that draft were “poison pills” which we cannot accept.  

We ask that you will adopt our draft as your own and agree to put it before the voters on the November ballot.

Thank you for valuing the considerable and lengthy process of public input that has resulted in the creation of this document and that your actions reflect that acknowledgment.

In solidarity,

Coalition for Police Accountability                                   

SEIU Local 1021                                                              

ACLU Northern California Chapter                                 

Faith in Action (formerly OCO)                                       

Black Women Organized for Political Power (BWOPA)

John George Democratic Club

Act for Racial Justice

Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

NAACP – Oakland chapter

Latino Task Force (LTF)

Black Cultural Zone

Block by Block Organizing Network (BBBON))

ILWU Local 10

Urban Strategies Council

Imani Social Justice Table

East Bay Democratic Socialists of America

Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

East Oakland Collective

Eastside Arts Alliance

Roots Health Center

East Oakland Youth Development Center

African Black Coalition

Just Cities

East Oakland Building Healthy Communities

Emergency Resolution on Police Oversight

Whereas, the killings of Black Americans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and locally Steven Taylor have resulted in few arrests, widespread unrest and police overreaction; and ongoing efforts to change police culture have so far failed, and;

Whereas, no mayor, no police chief, no training or recruitment programs have been able  to change police culture, prevent pervasive racial profiling or initiate systemic change so that Black, Latinx, poor, mentally ill or other communities continue to live in fear and are unable to fully participate in society, and;

Whereas, police associations have inserted themselves into the political process and continue to have undue influence on policies that affect the whole community and foster distrust in our institutions, including law enforcement, so long as there is no independent oversight;

Therefore, be it resolved that all of Alameda County’s law enforcement agencies, including police departments, sheriff’s deputies, transportation, correctional facilities and school agencies, operating with the ability to detain and arrest persons within our county, install independent civilian oversight bodies, funded by these jurisdiction, and;

Be it further resolved that each agency maintain separation between its law enforcement administration and the civilian oversight body to be appointed by the appropriate community groups and that the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee propose that the State of California take up this proposal for its law enforcement agencies as soon as possible after the shutdown.

Submitted by Pamela Drake, George Perezvelez  and Igor Tregub

1 Comment on "Oakland: You Have a Choice-Do You Choose Real Police Oversight or Something Less?"

  1. Any law officer who abuses anyone, and is convicted of that crime, be barred from being hired by a different force.
    Also, any officer not having their body cams on at all times be subject to disciplinary actions.

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