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Community Demands Council Move to Consolidate Police Complaints to CPRB

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A coalition of community leaders and advocates of the Citizens’ Police Review Board (CPRB) are pushing for the City Council to move forward on consolidating all walk-in citizen complaints against police to go through the CPRB, a decision the Council initially made in 2011 but has since not implemented.

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Complaints against police would be transferred from the Oakland Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD) to the CPRB, which would begin processing all complaints in January 2016.

 

The CPRB currently handles some citizen complaints. The full transition would transfer one Intake Technician from OPD to the civilian review board and also hire one additional Intake Technician at a budget of $101,000, and an additional $50,000 for necessary training and equipment, according to the city report.

 

This long-debated issue has brought to light the lack of police accountability and community trust with local law enforcement amidst reports of police brutality and racial profiling in Oakland.

 

According to a recent Stop Data report, Blacks are the largest percentage of people stopped by Oakland police at 59 percent, followed by Hispanics at 17 percent.

 

At the same time, OPD has been under federal oversight by Federal Judge Thelton Henderson – who has found city officials to be ineffective in disciplining officers for misconduct.

 

“One might think that paying millions of dollars to settle civil lawsuits and hundreds of thousands more in back pay and attorneys fees to reinstated officers, whose actions gave rise to those lawsuits, would give pause to the city’s leaders, or that the failure to preserve the city’s disciplinary decisions would spur” city officials to action, Henderson wrote.

 

He has given the city until September to show some progress.

 

Rashidah Grinage

Rashidah Grinage

Rashidah Grinage, former Executive Director of People United for a Better Life in Oakland (PUEBLO) and member of the Coalition for Police Accountability, says consolidating police complaints to the CPRB is a small step in the right direction.

 

“First of all, what we’re seeing in Baltimore, Oakland is one incident away from Baltimore. If anything happens, we’re likely to see very similar outrage because we have many of the same conditions of inequity, of racial profiling, of police abuse that exists in Baltimore,” said Grinage.

 

She said residents “need to have confidence that the city has a system that’s not part of OPD; that’s run by civilians, members of their community, working on their complaint fairly, objectively, professionally and can come to a finding that [the] person who feels they were abused can have confidence in.”

 

City councilmembers need to “understand that people want to feel that when they are the victim of police abuse, that there is a way for them to get justice. That’s what people want, that’s what they deserve,” she added.

 

Organizations with the coalition include The Ella Baker Center, ONYX Organizing Committee, SEIU 1021, The Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild, The Mentoring Center, OaklandWORKS, Alan Blueford Center for Justice, The Gray Panthers, The Oakland Greens, PAV, and Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club.

 

The issue will go before the City Council on Tuesday, May 5.

Bay Area

Vice Mayor: Business Group Wants to Buy Coliseum, Attract WNBA Team

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

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Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan.

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said a local business group has made serious inroads to buy the city’s 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum complex and to bring a WNBA team to the city.
Kaplan’s office shared a news release Monday about the effort by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group.

Kaplan said the group is in negotiations with the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority, has submitted a formal proposal to WNBA officials, and has submitted a term sheet to the city, which the City Council’s rules committee recently voted to advance to the full council for a vote.

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

“I am pleased that there is such great interest in doing an important development at the Oakland Coliseum that will provide jobs, revenue and community positivity,” Kaplan said. “My goal is to help this process move forward before the summer recess.”

Kaplan said the group has the backing of more than 30 community groups of faith-based institutions, labor organizations, civic leaders, and job development organizations. She did not name the groups

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Art

City Selects Ayodele Nzinga as Inaugural Poet Laureate

As poet laureate, Nzinga will make an inaugural address, partner with the city’s youth poet laureate Myra Estrada on a reading series, deliver four readings in Oakland, and write a poem that commemorates the city.

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Oakland first poet laureate Ayodele Nzinga, author of “SorrowLand Oracle” and “The Horse Eaters,” in an undated photo. (Photo courtesy City of Oakland).

Poet, playwright, and community activist Ayodele Nzinga was selected as Oakland’s inaugural poet laureate, city officials announced on June 11.

Nzinga is the founding producer and director of the West Oakland theater company Lower Bottom Playaz, established in 1999. She’s also the founding director of Black Arts Movement Business District Community Development Corporation, which produces BAMBDFEST, an international arts and cultural festival celebrating the arts in the Black community.

“Her decades-long commitment to Oakland’s art scene will feed the richness of her storytelling as she nurtures creativity in others,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement.

Nzinga is the author of at least two books of poetry: “SorrowLand Oracle,” a collection of spells, incantations, prayers, and “The Horse Eaters,” which is described as an origin tale, a reclamation of memory and a movement toward wholeness in thought.

Nzinga said she is “overjoyed” with her selection as Oakland’s first poet laureate.

“I look forward to representing ‘The Town’ and the honor of bringing poetry to the people!” she said in a statement.

As poet laureate, Nzinga will make an inaugural address, partner with the city’s youth poet laureate Myra Estrada on a reading series, deliver four readings in Oakland, and write a poem that commemorates the city.

“Whether in the visual performing arts, music or literature, the talents of the Town’s artists are world-renowned and deserve recognition and financial support,” J. K. Fowler, cultural affairs commissioner and chair of the poet laureate selection team, said in a statement.

City officials closed nominations on May 19 for Oakland’s inaugural poet laureate and five members of the city’s literary community selected Nzinga from other nominees based on five criteria.

That included their poetic work, and among other things, their understanding of civic stories around belonging, culture, and equity.

Nzinga will serve a two-year term until May 2023. Her selection comes with a $5,000 honorarium.

The date for the inaugural address by Nzinga has not been set.

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Business

Go Fund Geoffrey’s

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

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Geoffrey's Inner Circle

For more than 30 years Geoffrey Pete ‘s business, Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, has been a cultural hub because of its full-service restaurant, live entertainment, nightclub parties, jazz music and community special occasion events. Faith-based organizations have also rented the spacious facilities for services and concerts. Their full-service restaurant, bar and live entertainment business along with their tenants and multilevel event rental spaces have been severely interrupted and devastated by the COVID 19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Now those lights are dimmed due to the economic conditions that have descended on high intensity people-contact businesses.

Thanks to a group of customers and supporters a Go Fund Me page has been opened for the public to contribute to support Geoffrey’s Inner Circle https://gofund.me/b2541419.

The Post newspaper has notified the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce that regular articles concerning the needs of Geoffrey’s and other Black-owned Businesses will be published weekly.

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