Safety

More police patrols for East Oakland after homicides spike

This month, the Oakland Police Department will shift 48 officers to East Oakland and implement a new patrol plan in a section of the city that has been hit hardest by a sharp increase in violent crime. In a year-end news release, the department reported that it investigated 134 homicides in 2021, the most since 2012. Homicides were up 30% from 2020 and shootings were up 21%. “Many of the homicides and shootings involved gang and group members and conflicts,”…

Injured protesting George Floyd murder, they are now suing Oakland and Alameda County

Kierra Brown was helping wash people’s eyes when officers in riot gear approached, forcing her to run. It was June 2020, during a protest in downtown Oakland over the murder of George Floyd, and police had tear-gassed the crowd minutes earlier. Police shot Brown in the back of her right leg with an “impact munition,” projectiles typically made from rubber, wood or beans. She hasn’t regained full sensation in that leg and is at risk of losing mobility in her…

Boxes, buckets, Buicks and Chevies: Sideshows are at a crossroad

Tires screech and cars dance on the streets of Oakland as sideshow culture fills the air, along with the smell of burning rubber.   Originating in Oakland in the 1980s, sideshows have gained traction in the Bay Area, exciting audiences, frustrating motorists and irritating police. Oakland recently unveiled a bold plan to crack down on sideshows, which are classified as reckless driving and punishable as a misdemeanor. Richmond City Council recently took action to deter sideshows. And a state law signed…

Oakland looks to make Chinatown’s streets safer by redesigning them

From horses to highways, the streets of Oakland’s Chinatown have been shaped by every form of traffic since its founding in 1850. Soon it will be reshaped again. With a $500,000 Caltrans Sustainable Communities grant, Oakland’s Department of Transportation will fund a multilingual community outreach program to collect input from the neighborhood and redesign the streets of Chinatown. The public’s opinion will be solicited beginning early 2022. The project’s goal is to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety and reduce carbon…

Remembering the many killed, during National Day Against Police Brutality

Across the street from Oscar Grant III Way, a sea of candles lit up the Fruitvale BART Station on Friday evening. Families from across the Bay Area placed these candles in front of an Oscar Grant mural to mark National Day Against Police Brutality. Every Oct. 22, families and community members across the country remember and honor people who were killed by police officers. The event was started in 1996 by the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression…

‘This danger is one spark, one gust of wind, away.’ 30 years after tragic fire, Oakland better prepared but more at risk

When Sheila Davies Sumner stepped out of her house in the Oakland Hills on the morning of Oct. 20,1991, she had a sinister feeling. It was seasonally hot but there was nothing unusual about this Sunday morning, except for a blast of dry wind.  She put her Siamese cat, Algebra, in the garden, then left for work.  Oaklanders later would recall the gusts from Mount Diablo, some 30 miles to the northeast, the Diablo wind. On that day, 65 mph…

Event uses fun and games to address two community threats: violence and COVID-19

Pastor Cheryl Ward has been working with young children for many years and recently added teens to her ministry. So it seemed fitting for her to bring youth and their families together on Sunday for an event meant to confront two threats: violence and COVID-19. At Liberation Park on Sunday, she and the Black Cultural Zone organized “United Against Violence and COVID-19 in Oakland,” an event that she hopes is the first of four.  “Kids are always saying that they…

Oakland police lieutenant on leave along with police chief wife, amid criminal allegations

Oakland Police Lt. Lee French and his wife, Richmond Police Chief Bisa French, are on leave and under investigation, after a domestic violence restraining order was filed against them by a relative who claims they pinned her down and threatened her boyfriend and his family. The Oakland Police Department Thursday confirmed that Lee French was put on leave and said an internal investigation is underway into “criminal allegations.” In court documents, 18-year-old relative accused the Frenches of attacking her and…

Rally outside KTVU calls on media to cover missing Indigenous, Black, brown women

A day after Indigenous Peoples Day, dozens of activists and others gathered outside the KTVU building in Jack London Square Tuesday to shed light on missing Indigenous women and the lack of media coverage for Black and brown women.  They set up an altar, held up flags and banners, and gathered in a circle. The scent of sage filled the air as Lyla June Johnston shared a prayer, welcoming the ancestors to the circle. “We ask that you protect our…