Yesterday, the Oakland Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to approve my Militarized Police Equipment ordinance. The Public Safety Committee heard compelling community concerns and harmful experiences resulting from the lack of militarized equipment oversight. From being teargassed for peaceful protest, intimidated at a Juneteenth celebration by an armored vehicle, suffering terrorizing SWAT raids in neighborhoods of color, and the killing of an unhoused resident behind the cover of the BearCat, Oakland residents have continuously organized to end police brutality, since before the uprisings of 2020. Currently, the #DemilitarizeOPD Coalition calls for enhanced public safety through a “Controlled Equipment Ordinance” that requires OPD to account for all acquisitions and deployments of militarized equipment in Oakland.
Earlier today, in a live streamed virtual press conference, coalition organizers, directly impacted individuals, and I, the primary sponsor of the proposed ordinance, expressed the urgent need and broad community support for this ordinance. A petition, signed by more than 1,400 people, hundreds of postcards and letters from dozens of community organizations, called on the City Council to enact the measure.
PRESS CONFERENCE RECORDING: https://fb.watch/5-Db11KgDO/
“This legislation empowers the Police Commission to monitor and regulate the Oakland Police Department’s acquisition and use of militarized and militaristic equipment, and creates a practical regulatory structure designed to support actionable oversight," said Police Commission member Henry Gage III.
By passing this community-supported ordinance, Oakland Public Safety committee has sent a clear message to the rest of the state and nation that militarized policing cannot go unchecked. The Ordinance will now be heard at the full June 15, 2021, City Council for final passage.