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As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.
After two officers were shot, police conducted an unjustified dawn raid on a house in Ferguson. A woman and her 6-year-old son had the red laser sights of police rifles trained on their chests as they emerged into their garden under orders from the officers, who arrived in military-style vehicles.
After winning their freedom in the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, Blacks were in many cases and places denied basic human, civil and political rights, literally forcing New Afrikans back into slavery by denying them a right to life. Over the years the government declared and waged war on the New Afrikan communities - war on unemployed "vagrants,' war on crime, war on drugs, war on gangs - culminating in mass incarceration.
I listened through a police scanner as San Bernardino sheriffs gave the order to burn down the cabin where suspected murderer Christopher Dorner was allegedly hiding. Deputies were maneuvering a remote controlled demolition vehicle to the base of the cabin, using it to tear down the walls of the cabin where Dorner was hiding, and peering inside.
Over the past week, Southern Cali police had more than 1,000 officers combing mountains, stopping traffic on major freeways where cars were held up for hours, offering a million dollars, the highest reward ever offered for a wanted person in state history – and that’s just for starters. During the past week, LAPD shot three innocent people without identifying themselves as police officers.
Hundreds of Oakland residents turned out to voice their opinions about the City Council hiring William Bratton as a $250,000 a year consultant to help bring down an escalating crime rate. They accuse him of instituting “stop and frisk,” a program that they say is the blue print for racial profiling. Bratton’s background suggests there may be a lot more to be concerned about than stop and frisk.
Among many startling findings by legal scholar Michelle Alexander, former director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Project here in the Bay Area, is this: There are more African Americans under correctional control today – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.