Community resilience in the face of costly policing

The Stop the Injunctions Coalition continues to defend the people targeted by the injunctions, build quality community projects, and work in the neighborhoods affected by injunctions. We are also keeping an eye on the Oakland cityscape; watching the policing, legal and gentrification trends that affect our city.

OPD continues to drain our city’s scarce resources. For example, the legal costs paid by Oakland for “ongoing police misconduct cases totaled $13,139,000 in fiscal year 2010-11,” over 12 million of which paid settlements “stemming from police brutality, illegal searches, injuries, false arrests, and related civil-rights violations.”

Meanwhile, the Oakland police continue to drain the city’s funds using legal strategies to enforce their power on patrol with gang injunctions.  Over 2 million dollars has been racked up by private law firms and the City Attorney prosecuting the gang injunctions in East Oakland and North Oakland.  The costs are anticipated to increase pending an appeal filed in May by the legal team defending people and residents targeted by the East Oakland injunction.  $190,000 was paid to the two private law firms who helped assemble the gang injunctions (that does not include any police fees or legal time spent in court arguing the cases).  Rather than close the case on the injunctions or employ strategies that actually mitigate violence in our communities (strategies that STIC has suggested time and time again), Oakland continues to hemorrhage city money for policing. The city paid over $2 million to private firms for work the City Attorney’s office could not complete with their limited staff, a cost expected to grow significantly in 2012 because of lawsuits related to police shootings and allegations against police during Oscar Grant and Occupy Oakland demonstrations.

Oakland continues a policy of militarization against residents as it collaborates with federal agencies to raid homes in East Oakland.  Collecting anti-terror legislation funds, the Mayor’s office is working regularly with the FBI, ATF, DEA and the US Marshalls to criminalize, lock up and splinter communities. Oakland’s elected officials justify working with militarized task forces, while dangerously deprioritizing investment in non-militarized, non-police-related solutions such as access to good paying jobs, quality education and programming for youth, and health care or drug treatment.

Stop the Injunctions Coalition sees police violence and the continued use of gang injunctions increasing massive disenfranchisement of working-class people and people of color in Oakland.  Policing, imprisonment, foreclosure, privatization of public services and the closure of public spaces like schools and libraries are policies that lay the groundwork for and accelerate gentrification of neighborhoods that are historically communities of color, such as North Oakland.  STIC knows that they only way to keep communities strong are grassroots investments, not selling our neighborhoods to the highest bidder.  We need to prioritize keeping neighborhood schools like Santa Fe and Lakeview Elementaries open.  Community projects like the Phat Beets market are models of addressing health, employment and community building by affordable healthy, fresh food to longtime North Oakland residents and vendor space for farmers of color and local food entrepreneurs.

We continue to build community resilience in Oakland.  We invite you to join us!

–       Phat Beets market dates: tabling Juy 21, 28, August 11, and more! 

–       East Oakland garden (Thursday 5-7pm workdays, but it is always open; come by anytime!)

–       Critical Resistance Barbeque at Mosswood Park August 4, 2012 1-5 pm

–       Peace and Dignity Run- August 8, 2012 

–       Xicana Moratorium Day in San Antonio Park, August 26 2012

–       Fall workshops at Phat Beets

–       September: walking tour covering North Oakland history, BPP organizing, neighborhood changes and gentrification.

–       October: “Community Gardens, Food Justice, and Gentrification”

–       November: “The PIC, Gentrification, and Injunctions: a workshop to examine structural disenfranchisement in Oakland connecting public space, private property, policing and resistance:”

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