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Stop the supercop! All out to Oakland City Hall Tuesday!

January 14, 2013

Stop the supercop at Oakland City Council Tuesday, Jan. 15 – rally in Oscar Grant Plaza outside City Hall at 5 p.m., Council meeting 5:30

by Critical Resistance

Under the cover of year-end distraction, Oakland’s mayor, chief of police, and city manager announced their intentions to contract with William Bratton as a consultant to the Oakland Police Department (OPD). While Oakland’s City Council will have the final say on whether or not the financially devastated city should squeeze $250,000 from the already dry coffers of the general fund to pay for the expertise of Bratton and his cohort, Robert Wasserman, the announcement of these intentions is chilling.

William Bratton
William Bratton
William Bratton has been called a “supercop” by some. And while this is likely meant as a compliment, it is also a completely accurate way to describe the unparalleled devastation his influence on policing has had on communities of color and poor communities across the globe. He is not only one of the architects of what has become known as zero tolerance policing, but until last month was also a consultant on private security investigation, surveillance and mercenary policing internationally.

Bratton’s approach to policing is based on James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s “broken windows” theory, which proposes that minor social and physical disorder – broken windows, overgrown weeds, public urination, loitering – left unchecked, will inevitably lead to an increase in “serious” crime. Through his “quality of life initiative,” Bratton aimed at restoring public order by aggressively enforcing, through sweeps, ticketing and arrest, minor quality of life infractions such as public drunkenness, littering or begging.

No crime, no matter how insignificant, would go unnoticed and unpunished – zero tolerance. Bratton can also be credited with popularizing stop and frisk tactics, including surveilling persons suspected of being involved in higher level offenses – drug dealing, gang involvement – and using minor infractions as a pretext for fishing for additional incriminating evidence to use against them.

Under zero tolerance, use of policing sweeps has become commonplace as police forces remove entire elements of communities from the streets – the homeless, queer and gender non-conforming people, sex workers, day laborers, youth – explaining that their very presence causes disorder. Stop-and-search tactics have deeply engrained the logic of racial profiling in the practice of policing, as individual cops are given discretion to assess who is suspicious and worthy of stopping.

The rise in the use of zero tolerance policing has coincided with the increased militarization of law enforcement, creation of specialized policing units, longer sentences, a tripling of the U.S. prison population and the increased use of solitary confinement within prisons.

Bratton’s methods are controversial. Under the guise of community policing, they break up neighborhoods into militarized police zones, often alienating and angering community members rather than engendering hope or safety, let alone the direct violence used by police on these same community members. Two of Critical Resistance’s home bases, New York and Los Angeles, are still bearing the scars of Bratton’s reign as police chief in each city.

The sneaky timing of the announcement of his impending arrival in Oakland mirrors other attempts to implement a number of Bratton-style zero-tolerance policing practices, such as gang injunctions and curfews, without public input or support. These attempts have also summarily been rejected by Oakland residents, as have their proponents, including Bratton-trained former Police Chief Anthony Batts and former City Attorney John Russo, both of whom were pressured out of town in response to their repressive approaches.

The rise in the use of zero tolerance policing has coincided with the increased militarization of law enforcement, creation of specialized policing units, longer sentences, a tripling of the U.S. prison population and the increased use of solitary confinement within prisons.

As we enter this New Year, we hope to engender fresh thinking, nurture creativity, bolster care and compassion, and dream boldly about how to create the world we want to live in. Bratton-style policing has proven over and over to cause more long-term damage than not, to atomize and antagonize poor people and people of color, and to ignore creative, community-led solutions. From Boston to New York to Los Angeles to Oakland, we hope Critical Resistance members, allies and supporters will choose to break free from the Bratton legacy, keep an eye out for his handiwork and resist it at every turn.

Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. This story first appeared at http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=b64cbc94231b3bae71ab83686&id=d2dc4c7783&e=e5697a4a2a.

Zero tolerance is zero intelligence

by David Firestein

Join the JAB (Justice for Alan Blueford) Coalition and allies on Tuesday, Jan. 15, to tell the Oakland City Council that we reject Bill Bratton and his racist, fascist policies. Meet up at 5:00 for a rally with the meeting at 5:30. Make sure to fill out speaker cards online beforehand or at City Hall.

'The streets belong to the people' banner
This banner, declaring “The streets belong to the people,” commemorates the first Oakland rebellion, on Jan. 7, 2009, following the police murder of Oscar Grant.
As some of you may have heard, OPD has a new strategy to reduce crime in Oakland. This plan is to ask City Council for an additional $250,000 to hire Bill Bratton as a consultant for one year. They have happily announced that they are bringing in the man responsible for NYC’s dramatic drop in crime and the man who helped the LAPD work through their own federal difficulties after the Ramparts case.

Here’s what they’re not telling you about Bratton’s multi-pronged approach to crime reduction:

1) Bratton takes credit for implementing New York’s broken window policy. On the surface, the policy sounds great – if you repair minor damage, then you don’t send the message that an area is worthless and thus raise civic pride and prevent crime. But Oakland has already instituted a new policy along these lines that exposes a key flaw. It is not the city that pays for this damage but home owners and business owners. Businesses and homes that fail to remove graffiti promptly can be fined. So it is the homeowner who is punished for the police’s ineptitude at preventing vandalism in the first place. Moreover, one can no longer simply leave the graffiti up and appreciate the art because the city sees it as counter-economic to have graffiti anywhere. Ultimately, broken windows forces civilians to take on police roles they already pay others to do regardless of whether they personally believe in the laws or not.

2) Bratton believes in a zero tolerance policy for all crime. This means harsher punishment and more policing of minor infractions – including public protest, public disturbance, vagrancy, public intoxication, smoking marijuana etc. This sort of strategy takes away cops’ (meager) rationality and forces them to further criminalize the public. For those police who already have no problem seeing Oakland residents as criminals, zero tolerance encourages them to punish as harshly as they can to deter crime.

3) In a recent interview, Bratton talked up the importance of stop and frisk and compared it to chemotherapy. That’s right. Bratton thinks the people being stopped are like a cancer, and the rest of the city – the innocent ones – simply need to endure the poison – in this case the unlawful stops and searches – in order to make the city healthy again. There is no doubt that bringing a de jure stop and frisk policy – to replace the already existent de facto policy – will only encourage police racism and police violence. Moreover, with recent comments by Fruitvale’s new City Councilmember Noel Gallo in which he proclaimed his own desire for a “search and frisk” policy, there is no doubt that the council will be moving in this direction.

4) Bratton has also been vocal in his disgust with cities that have tolerated Occupy camps. In regard to New York City, he reportedly almost ran for mayor because he was so angry at how tepidly Bloomberg had responded to the Zuccotti Park camp. Bratton despises the tents for the same reason as the broken windows and encourages harsh response to populist movements to preserve the status quo.

Bratton believes in a zero tolerance policy for all crime. This means harsher punishment and more policing of minor infractions – including public protest, public disturbance, vagrancy, public intoxication, smoking marijuana etc. This sort of strategy takes away cops’ (meager) rationality and forces them to further criminalize the public.

So what’s really going on here? The last two consultants, Frazier, who they chose, and Warshaw, who was forced on them by Judge Henderson, both wrote scathing reports on OPD that Deanna Santana tried to cover up and edit. So now they found someone to say exactly what she wants to hear. They’re not out of control, they’re too controlled. They’re not too violent, they’re not violent enough.

Also, with the new federal compliance director coming in with a clear mandate to stop stop and frisk as it already exists off the books in Oakland and to work against racial profiling, the police and city officials want to make it harder to change their backwards, racist policies. Oakland has become the epicenter of anti-brutality campaigns, so those who want the brutality to continue are bringing in their big guns. They know that in the wake of Oakland’s crime and murder spike that the people of Oakland will be much easier to bully into whatever program they recommend.

Oakland has become the epicenter of anti-brutality campaigns, so those who want the brutality to continue are bringing in their big guns.

We say no.

  • No to zero tolerance!
  • No to “broken windows” policies!
  • No to stop and frisk!
  • No to racial profiling!
  • No to Bill Bratton!

Come out and tell the Public Safety Committee that we want none of this and that we will be heard. Get a speaker card, bring a banner, get rowdy. Remind City Council whose city this is.

This story first appeared at https://www.facebook.com/events/317697308335700/.

 

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14 thoughts on “Stop the supercop! All out to Oakland City Hall Tuesday!

  1. Dave

    We just need more police. It will calm everybody down. Oakland is out of control. There's a bank on Telegraph that got robbed 4 times in one month & there's so many shootings. We have to find a way to get more police and offer the young poor something more attractive than robbing, pimping and fighting other guys doing the same.

    Reply
  2. Charlie Sheen

    Wow, you guys actually figured out how to read and write this article. Y'all are some sophisticated niggers,

    Reply
    1. Selina

      And Just Think YOU Came out of the Caucas Moutain only learning how to grunt and you

      look how far you come from a MONKEY to a NEANDERTHAL – NOW a BEAST and Guess what
      you're gonna go back to being the non-communicating TROGLODYTE :)

      Reply
  3. Seamus

    Nothing like white trash at a party. They always have such interesting things to say. Note Prof Sheen and The Truth. Whether it be proximity to power lines or paint chips, it's sad, just sad.

    Reply
  4. John Mulligan

    Ignore the racists. The issue here is violence. You all know damn well who is doing the killing in Oakland. It's not the cops. The first and only question here should be whether this guy's methods work, and the fact is, they do. Read the article that Ann Garrison put up. The drop in crime that comes for zero tolerance policing can't be ignored. You want a city that provides services to the youth and the poor? You need taxpayers. Taxpayers won't live in a city that is overrun by crime, and Oakland is overrun by crime.

    Reply
  5. MartinLutherKing jr

    I'm sick of all the racism on this site. But now that i think about it, if niggers weren't around, there would be less crime.

    Reply

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