Oakland’s Police Department Untold Side
“Did you know that African-Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by a Police officer than a White American?”(Nodjimbadem). Over the years there have been some police officers that have used unnecessary force, Bobby Hutton as an example. Police officers in Oakland aren’t what people think of them, comparable to rude and racist because in a interview that was done by Alberto Martinez showed a side of humanity that is not seen by the community.
The community doesn’t see the officer’s side, and is usually because the people never hear their side. In a interview with Officer Millian he said, “..I mean we’re…we are Police officers we’re not robots or anything like that…we’re normal people we’re married, kids, grandparents…we have dogs, we love sports” (Millian). This quote shows that cops make mistakes and part of those mistakes are part of Police Brutality. When Millian states that they are not robots, he is trying to point out that they are human beings with lives that have jobs who are trying to live another day. In the quote when it addresses that they are similar to us, he is just trying to show that the OPD aren’t different than us.
Another side that the community does not see is that the Police officers are coming from another place and are trying to build a bond with the community but they are not able to do that because the community sees the negative instead of the positive. An article published by Paul Harris on “TheGuardian” talked about the connection between the OPD and African-American community, “But it is the major incidents that really stand out when examining how OPD polices its community,… In 1968 OPD officers shot and killed Bobby Hutton…involved in a shootout with police, but surrendered and stripped down to his underwear to show he was unarmed….he died after being shot…12 times. That incident…set a tone of discord between OPD and large segments of the city’s black community that has lasted until the present day. Community activists say too many OPD officers live outside the city…separating themselves from Oakland’s daily life.” (Harris) This quote points out that a reason why there is police brutality in Oakland is because the bond or connection isn’t as strong. The connection between the OPD and African-American community isn’t at its best because the Police are outsiders, and when the Police use force on some of the community members. In the perspective of the community it is an act of disrespectfulness.
Additionally the officers that were interviewed by Alberto they both said that they wanted police brutality gone and that just because an officer makes a mistake not all officers are the same. They want to be viewed differently as Officer Millian stated, “…I think me and my partner…what our job here to do is to…be approachable just like what you guys were doing today…and just kinda let the public know that were out here and were normal people and we’re here to help out… you know we represent what the community…and what people people hear.”(Officer Millian) The quote clarifies that there are Police officers who want to connect with the community, be part of the community and they are there to help out the community in any way they can. Just because one officer makes a mistake doesn’t mean they all will. In a example that Officer Millian gave was that if someone were to hire a painter to paint their house and they do a horrible job at it does that mean all painters are bad. So that is something you should really keep in mind. Something Officer Maley said that really stood out during the interview was, “I think a lot of the community doesn’t know exactly the calls were getting so a lot of the times were getting calls of people armed with a bat, people armed with a knife…and when you get there that’s not what it is so were going into a call thinking someone is armed with an item so you’re running all these scenarios through your head and if that person doesn’t doesn’t drop the item…there is a possible…that use force right”(Officer Maley) The interviewee is stating the side that people don’t know about at all. If people knew more about important details on the calls, then people might not even complain about Police Brutality because then the community can get an understanding of what happens/why. With more people knowing this and getting to understand and see the side of the officers, then more than likely will people actually have a change in perspective about Police Brutality.
Some may argue that even though not all Police officers have a part in Police Brutality, others may think that they are still racist or use racial stereotypes to profile someone when arresting or pulling over a person. The Oakland Police Department had been under research by Stanford and they found out that the officers from the department use plenty of racial bias, “1 in 4 African American men were arrested compared to 1 in 15 White people were arrested…certain more words were used more frequently… we found for black stops words that are associated with “probation”, “parole”, “arrest”, and “jail time” (Judd). In this quote from a video it just gives and provides people with not only a perspective that the Police officers aren’t connected with the community. But also allows people dislike Police officers. This states that Police officers still aren’t ready to connect with the community and the community won’t be ready to trust the OPD.
Overall, Police officers aren’t always what people think, they are human and they have lives parallel everyone does but most importantly their voices aren’t always heard and without their perspective people will always see the same old dominant narrative of racist, unnecessary use of force by Oakland Police officers.
Harris, Paul. “Oakland police: controversial history sets tone for city’s discord.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 26 Oct. 2011,
The article talks about the discord between OPD and the African-American community because of Bobby Hutton’s death and how that has affected the trust and bond between the OPD and Oakland’s community. It also states how the Oakland Police officers would also set up the African-Americans to make them seem “guilty” and be able to use force on them for their enjoyment. The Guardian is a really reliable source because their quality of investigative journalism is really outstanding. I also know that none of the topics they wrote about or published was ever thought as bogus or fake. All of their information has been as precise as possible and they don’t publish an article without knowing if the information is false.
Judd, Jackie . “Study slams troubled Oakland police department for racial bias.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 15 June 2016, www.pbs.org/newshour/show/study-slams-troubled-oakland-police-department-for-racial-bias.
The article was about how the Oakland Police Department might not use excessive force but that the officers use racial bias when they pull over an African-American. Stanford did a 2 year study on the Oakland Police Department and they told Jacki Judd the results and what they saw.
Jackie Judd was a journalist for NPR and CBS Radio News, she was active in the non-profit health care sector. She graduated from American University of Washington, D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and government. Thanks to her she was able to put a face on health care policy by making small documentaries. At Kaiser Family Foundation she spent 10 years as a Vice President moderating health care events
Maley, Officer . “Police Brutality Interview.” 9 Jan. 2018.
The interview took place on 23rd street and 12 E street. Anabel approached the officer in order for Alberto to be able to interview the Oakland Police officers. Officer Maley is really trustworthy source because not only is she an Oakland Police officer but she also lives in Oakland. She has lived in Oakland for 2 years and I know that, that is enough time to not only get to become part of Oakland but also know the city. When I interviewed her I asked her what she thought about it and how she felt from a officers perspective. She said that she believed Police brutality is not right. Towards the end she said that we are not so different from you we are also human beings.
Millian, Officer . “Police Brutality Interview.” 9 Jan. 2018.
Interview took place in 23rd street and 12 E street. Anabel approached the officer in order for Alberto to be able to interview the Oakland Police officers.When I interviewed Officer Millian he was extremely calm. As the interview went on he was hugely thoughtful of his responses and I was also really amazed. I had asked him the similar questions as Officer Maley and they were about the same responses. But there was a question I asked him, how he felt when people see one officer use unneeded force on a civilian and then everyone painted all officers with the same brush. He said, “I mean think about it this way…you hire a painter to paint your house but he does a bad job, that doesn’t meant all painters are bad painters it just means that specific painter is a bad painter” (Officer Millian). That response really just exploded my mind because even though that really true I just had never thought of it that way. I believe that Officer Millian is a strong reliable source because as stated with Officer Maley they are officers of Oakland. Officer Millian does live in Oakland, he has lived in Oakland for 4 years and over those year he has seen a ton of diversity over the years especially in the community by the Cesar Chavez school.
Nodjimbadem, Katie. “The Long, Painful History of Police Brutality in the U.S.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 27 July 2017, www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/long-painful-history-police-brutality-in-the-us-180964098/.
Katie wrote about the history of Police Brutality in the U.S.. She also wrote about the history of Police Departments and how they were established; there was also some information about how there were laws to get around Police Brutality and oppression without letting the U.S. see what was really going on. Katie Nodjimbadem is a immensely strong suitable source. She has a Bachelor’s in Science of Journalism and Magazine Journalism. That a big piece of evidence that shows Katie is not playing around with her articles because she worked her tail off for her Bachelor’s and she wouldn’t just write about something fake or imprecise, then posting it. She wouldn’t do that because her career as a journalist means a mass to her is she got a Bachelor’s in journalism.
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