By Post Staff
Some Oakland residents are opposing the hiring of new Police Department consultant Bill Bratton, a former New York Police Commissioner and Los Angeles Chief, who is identified with “stop and frisk” police practices, which critics say frequently leads to racial profiling and the ongoing harassment of young Black and Latino men.
The City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday, Jan. 15, on whether to pay the police consultant $250,000.
PUEBLO, (People United for a Better Life in Oakland), the city’s leading police accountability advocacy group, has begun a neighborhood outreach campaign to get residents to attend their office to plan strategies to block the city proposal.
A federal judge on Monday ruled that a component of New York’s stop and frisk program is unconstitutional.
Bratton has used stop and frisk as a chief and continues to defend the practice.
“It was announced as a done deal,” said Rashidah Grinage of PUEBLO, referring to a press conference in December held by Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Howard Jordan, which presented the decision to hire Bratton.
“The community was never consulted,” she said. “(Bratton) apparently wants to focus more on community policing, but that involves finding out what the community thinks, rather than ramming it down our throats.”
“We have a history of the police being unwilling to collect the data (on routine police stops),” Grinage said. “(Bratton) has a reputation for racial profiling. It looks to me like the city is on absolute collision course” with federal Judge Thelton Henderson, who is requiring OPD to reduce practices that violate residents’ civil rights.
The police department has “a failing grade on the collection of racial profiling data,” she said. “That is one of the things the new (court appointed) compliance director is supposed to be responsible for correcting.”
Councilmember Desley Brooks said, “I am confused about why we are hiring all of these people to do the job the police chief is supposed to do. Where is all of the money going to come from?”
Bratton will be joining Bob Wasserman, head of the Boston-based Strategic Policy Partnership, who also has consulted many of the nation’s biggest cities on policing.
They will report to Jordan, Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana. Wasserman, who began in September, is conducting a “top-to-bottom” review of the department, Jordan said.
In an interview in March, Bratton compared using stop and frisk to fight crime to using chemotherapy and radiation to fight cancer.
While too high a dose can be fatal, the right amount can save a person’s — or a city’s — life, Bratton said.
“The challenge is to do it appropriately,” Bratton said. “Applied in the right way, in the right moderation, [chemotherapy and radiation] will cure most cancers. [Stop-and-frisk] is an intrusive power…but applied in the right way, it can have the effect of reducing crime.”