Monday, June 20, 2016

JUSTICE IN AMERICA - Oakland California Police, the Report

"Study slams troubled Oakland police department for racial bias" PBS NewsHour 6/15/2016


SUMMARY:  The Oakland police department’s history of misconduct — particularly involving African-Americans — has made it the subject of federal oversight for 13 years.  Wednesday, Stanford researchers released the results of a two-year-long study into the department, confirming that Oakland officers exhibit significant racial biases in their day-to-day work.  Special correspondent Jackie Judd reports.

JACKIE JUDD (NewsHour):  The report confirms what African-American residents of Oakland, California, have long known, seen and felt.  Police often treat them very differently than white residents.

REBECCA HETEY, Stanford University:  We found a significant pattern of racial disparities in who was stopped, in who was handcuffed, in who was searched, and in who was arrested.

JACKIE JUDD:  Rebecca Hetey is a Stanford University researcher and an author of the report.

REBECCA HETEY:  More importantly, these disparities remained significant after we took into account a wide range of factors that we would expect to influence police decision-making, like crime rate, like neighborhood demographics.

REV. MICHAEL MCBRIDE, Operation Ceasefire:  It is an insult.  And no one can make me believe that this would be happening in any other community, except for a community that is defined by black, brown and poor people.

JACKIE JUDD:  Activists and brothers Michael and Ben McBride are longtime critics of the Oakland Police Department.

REV. BEN MCBRIDE, Operation Ceasefire:  We have a broken relationship because, while there have been some steps moving forward to try to repair it, there still has not been the kind of honest discourse that needs to happen around truth and reconciliation.

JACKIE JUDD:  According to the most recent FBI statistics, Oakland has more violent crime than any other U.S. city except for Detroit and Memphis.  It was in this supercharged atmosphere that city officials took an unprecedented step.  They decided to have outsiders analyze their officers’ behavior, knowing the results wouldn’t be pretty.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf....

MAYOR LIBBY SCHAAF, Oakland:  It is incredibly important that we ask these hard questions, so that we can get to the bottom of making the department something that the community trusts and that is, in fact, bringing justice.

WOMAN:  So, this when I just broke down the entire stops into both race and gender.

JACKIE JUDD:  Researchers at nearby Stanford University spent two years analyzing vast amounts of data, field reports from 28,000 stops officers made on the streets and roads during a 13-month period, and body-cam video from 2,000 of those encounters.  They expected to find about 7,800 stops of African-Americans.  In fact, there were more than double, almost 17,000 stops.

What surprised everyone involved even more was the huge gap in handcuffing.

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