At a fiery Public Safety Committee meeting, Stop the Injunctions Coalition mobilized last night with 200 other Oakland residents, strongly voicing opposition to a proposed $250,000 contract with controversial police consultant William Bratton. Bratton’s name has become synonymous with contentious zero tolerance police policies such as gang injunctions, stop and frisk, curfews, and quality of life policing; all policies that our communities have rejected time and time again.
From 6pm to 9:30pm, Oaklanders spoke out loud and clear: a contract with William Bratton would be unacceptable, given his violent legacy. Speakers noted that Bratton’s seeminglyimpressive statistics have begun to wither under scrutiny, with reports of manipulation of data and last week’s Supreme Court decision finding the NYPD’s use of stop and frisk a violation of residents’ civil rights.
Newly-elected councilperson Lynette Gibson McElhaney (District 3) wondered if Bratton’s reputation was, “so toxic that he can’t be effective here.” McElhaney continued, “He may be the best, but is he bringing so much baggage to your team, Mr. Wasserman, that he cannot hold town hall meetings?”
With Council members Kalb and McElhaney refusing to endorse a “short-term crime fighting strategy” contract that included Bratton, Councilmember Schaaf amended the proposal to include a recommendation that an alternative contractor be explored. The item will now move to a full council meeting. The dubious outcomes of Bratton-style policy and Bratton’s very reputation will be in question when the issue reaches the full Council for a vote next week. Though the Council may decide to implement a version of the contract, last night’s strong showing demonstrated that Bratton is more of a liability than an asset in dealing with an engaged community that is fed up with policing scandals.
The public spoke loudly and clearly: Oakland residents don’t want Bratton in our city. For those of us working day in and day out to make our city a safer and stronger place, we understand that every dollar wasted on failed, quick-fix schemes is a dollar taken away from supporting effective, sustainable, and community-based solutions.
Beware of Bratton, fact sheet from Critical Resistance (also included in email as attachment. Download! distribute! post!)