Bratton Too Toxic for Oakland: Amidst Community Outcry, Council Divided on Police Consultant Contract

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.

Read more:

Beware of Bratton, fact sheet from Critical Resistance (also included in email as attachment. Download! distribute! post!)

Oakland is wasting money on BrattonSFGate


STIC/ Critical Resistance on The Morning Mix with Davey D

Listen to Critical Resistance members (part of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition) talk about Bratton-style policing!  After last night’s lively City Hall session, round out your knowledge of why Oaklanders continue to reject zero-tolerance policing strategies, like gang injunctions, youth curfews, and other tactics that rely on containment and repression.

THE MORNING MIX, Jan 15, 2013:

Why Stop the “Super Cop”?

Stop the Injunctions Coalition needs your support and action at City Hall tomorrow!  The Oakland City Council has started in on business for the New Year and we are greatly concerned with their direction.

One of the first items on Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee Meeting is an item to spend of a quarter million dollars to hire policing consultants William Bratton and Robert Wasserman.[1]  STIC is strongly opposed to this contract and we are mobilizing tomorrow to urge Councilmembers to reject this contract.

Bratton‘s quality of life and zero tolerance policing strategies are problematic and divisive in cities where they have been implemented. The “positive results” of Bratton’s techniques have increasingly begun to fray under the scrutiny of criminologists, community leaders, and even other police strategists.  Oakland residents have consistently rejected Bratton-style, zero-tolerance policing practices, such as gang injunctions and curfews. Bratton’s potential arrival coincides with a near imminent federal take-over of the Oakland Police Department, further entrenching the public’s mistrust of the department as well as it frustration with the city having already spent $1,000,000 in consultants last year alone. Read this excellent OaklandLocal piece by David Firestein to learn more.

Adding to our concern are the so-called Schaaf-Reid Measures proposed last week to increase the size of OPD and the suggestion by new Council member, Noel Gallo, that Oakland adopt a stop and search policy, similar to the scandal-ridden policy in place in New York City. Studies show that stop and search tactics rely on and extend racial profiling.  Just last week, a judge ruled New York’s stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional, finding it in violation of fourth amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure. Additionaly, in July 2012 the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report on the impact of stop-and-frisk finding wide-spread and systemic human rights abuses stemming from the practice and further disadvantaging marginalized populations based on their race, gender or gender expression, sexuality, age, housing status, income, immigration status, and/or physical disability.

We can all agree that violence in our communities has taken a horrendous toll on our families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.  Join STIC tomorrow to urge the Council to start this new year by being responsive to our communities’ suggestions and respect our experience in understanding what works to address violence on our streets.

As our past victories in persuading the Council have made clear, it is up to us to ensure that City Hall makes informed decisions and avoids peril when it comes to considering failed, destructive, and expensive quick-fix police schemes.

Oakland City Hall – 14th & Broadway

Sign up here and fill out a speaker card if you want to voice your opinion at the meeting.  We will provide talking points to support you!

Can’t make it to City Hall?  Jan 2013 Open Letter to City Hall STOP BRATTON and email it to City Hall!

Noel Gallo, Public Safety Chair:

[1] official agenda item: “Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The City Administrator To Amend The Contract With Strategic Policy Partnership, LLC In The Amount Of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000) To Hire A Consultant To Put In Place A Much Needed Short-Term Crime Fighting Strategy And A Citywide Reduction And Community Safety plan”


This Tuesday the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee will decide whether to offer the infamous William Bratton and his consulting firm a $250,000 contract to consult with the OPD. 

Bratton’s “zero tolerance” policing strategies–which include gang injunctions, stop and frisk, gang databases and “quality of life” ordinances–have had a destructive impact on communities of color in cities across the US and the world.  Oakland has already sent a crystal clear message against Bratton’s gang injunctions that forced both former police chief, Anthony Batts, and former City Attorney, John Russo, out of office and out of town.

Stop the Injunctions Coalition asks you–our allies, friends and neighbors–to join us one more time to convince City Council to say “NO” to Bratton and his destructive policies, and “YES” to community based solutions that keep Oakland safe and strong!

Oakland City Hall – 14th & Broadway

Sign up here and fill out a speaker card if you want to voice your opinion at the meeting.  We will provide talking points to support you!

SATURDAY WORKSHOP: Community Gardens, Food Justice, & Gentrification



Community Gardens, Food Justice, & Gentrification
at the  Saturday North Oakland Farmers’ Market, 942 Stanford St, Oakland 94608 @Lowell

Start Time: 11:00 am
Ends: 1:00 pm

A workshop to examine structural disenfranchisement in Oakland connecting public space, private property, policing and resistance. Participants will leave with an understanding of how land privatization has shaped Oakland, knowledge of historical tactics to reclaim and reuse land for communities, and how resisting gentrification can build healthier and safer communities.


Solid analysis on how gentrification and gang injunctions are connected from our allies at Phat Beets!

Another Blow Against Gang Injunctions

Oaklanders sent a clear message against gang injunctions through yesterday’s elections, voting out Iganacio De La Fuente, the most aggressive and vocal proponent of the use of gang injunctions, and voting in injunction opponents, Dan Kalb and Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, in Districts 1 and 3 respectively. Throughout the election STIC was able to keep the issue of gang injunctions on the table, asking publicly and repeatedly what candidates’ positions were on injunctions and educating our neighbors about STIC’s people’s platform on public safety. Many candidates across the political spectrum took strong positions against injunctions or shifted their positions to oppose injunctions, citing a lack of evidence on their effectiveness, excessive costs, and danger of expanding criminalization as reasons.

Our work made it clear that Oakland can’t afford injunctions, Oakland doesn’t need injunctions, and Oaklanders don’t want injunctions.  At the ballot box, we used one of the few vehicles provided for Oakland residents to weigh in on the controversial policing practice.  And the tide against gang injunctions just continues to swell.

But as we know, the real battle and the real victory is still ahead.  We will watch carefully in January to see what the Council will do with some fresh energy. With a clear mandate from Oakland residents, the Council must choose to de-authorize the costly, ineffective injunctions in favor of community-based solutions consistently proven to make substantial, lasting positive change in our communities.  With so many candidates taking strong stances against injunctions during their elections, the real test will be whether those same candidates will offer more than empty campaign promises and put their positions into action on the Council.

A turnover in city council old guard could open up new possibilities for Oakland to make the choice to end the use of gang injunctions once and for all, but the Stop the Injunctions Coalition will continue to monitor and mobilize around council activities related to gang injunctions, curfews, and other attempts to expand police power in Oakland to make sure that our voices and our solutions remain at the heart of the conversation about public safety in our city. Grassroots pressure made it impossible for gang injunctions to spread across the city and grassroots pressure is essential for us to eliminate the threats posed by gang injunctions. 

Thanks to all of you who have been with us in this fight and stay tuned for more news from STIC soon!