Blended Views In Oakland Amid Attainable Easing Of Federal Oversight Of Police – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – A federal judge is set to ease decades of federal oversight of the Oakland Police Department. While even one of the department’s harshest critics says progress has been made, others are skeptical of the possible move.

For nearly 20 years, a federal monitor has been overseeing the department. “The Riders” police scandal in the early 2000s led to the arranged federal oversight agreement, and the city paying out millions to plaintiffs because of police misconduct.

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Bishop Bob Jackson has been leading a church congregation in East Oakland for nearly 40 years. He’s seen how street violence has torn the community apart.

“The bullets are flying everywhere. Innocent people being hit a lot of times. I mean, it’s almost like Ukraine right about now,” said Jackson.

He believes recent changes within the Oakland Police Department are making a difference.

“It’s better now because they’ve added a new district and added more police officers so they’re able to do more with fighting crime,” said Jackson.

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Bishop supports the removal of the federal oversight and thinks that money can be better spent to support communities like East Oakland.

But Kat Brooks, who founded the Anti-Police Terror Project after the killing of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART Station in 2009, is wary of the move.

“They’re not capable of stopping their officers from brutalizing our community members, and I have concerns,” Brooks told KPIX 5. “There’s a whole global movement around policing in America and the brutality of it.”

Civil rights attorney John Burris, whose work helped set up the federal oversight arrangement, told KPIX 5, “I think the department is on the right track. It’s a department with a lot of different moving parts. It’s not perfect and it probably never will be perfect.”

Burris said OPD has addressed issues like racial profiling, unnecessary use of force, and other requirements under the federal agreement.

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When asked how the department is today compared to the 10, 20 years ago, Burris said, “It’s a different department in that sense. They have policies and procedures in place to hold people accountable, when in fact they don’t follow the basic rules.”

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