Video, Story: Leon Breckenridge // Video: Leon Breckenridge, Young D, Sean Shavers, Bobby Jackson,
Jun 03, 2010
Editor’s Note: Last week, an Alameda court judge approved the Oakland Gang injunction that prohibits certain people, who have been labeled as gang members by the city of Oakland, from gathering in safe zones throughout the city. YO! hit the streets of Oakland to talk to some of the people on the gang injunction list. We also headed over to one of the protests against the gang injunction. Leon Breckenridge, Young D, Sean Shavers and Bobby Jackson are content producers for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.
I laughed when I heard about the gang injunctions in Oakland. I laughed because they were imposing a gang injunction on a neighborhood that is very safe, I know because lived there much of my life.
The injunction is about arresting certain gang members in Oakland if they are outside around hanging out in a specified safety zone. If they are on the gang injunction list they can’t be outside loitering. There are fifteen people on the list, and there are going to be more added in the coming months. The injunction gives police officers the authority to harass and arrest people they believe to be affiliated with a gang.
Violence in North Oakland is not prevalent. The gang injunction is there because of fear the police, and the merchants. The gang injunction shows a lack of communication between the police and the people whom they need to talk to: African-Americans in the North Oakland community.
These cops have it wrong, especially Officer Nadia Clark who made the expert declaration about North Oakland and labeled a number of young black men and women as gang members.
In the gang injunction text, Clark shows tattoos from multiple people proclaiming that these tattoos are earned through robbing, fighting, and killing.
What she doesn’t understand is that we love our neighborhood that’s why folks get tats representing North Oakland. Some people are violent, some people sell drugs, but not everyone does it.
One person I spoke to, Jontae, 22, from North Oakland said, “They (youngsters) react off what they see. If they’re growing up all in the hood, around the guns and drug selling they get older and grab a gun.” Jontae also stated that the cops can’t understand the gang situation in Oakland, “…because they not in it. They on the outside looking in, trying to get in. Trying to figure out how the hood works but they really don’t know. Never will.”
Jonathan Bell, 17, told me cops have harassed him because his last name is Bell. His brother and father are known criminals. “About twice or three times a week, the police harass me because of the gang affiliated hat. The A hat and the C hat, red and black,” said Bell. “They got pictures of my tattoos, all of them, in the computer system.”
Cops and much of American society see black males as criminals and they wont stop until they make that point very clear.