Monitoring city officials, working in alliance with the Coalition for Police Accountability
Grassroots efforts by OCO and our allies helped win passage of Measure LL, which aims to create a strong community-accountable police oversight commission in Oakland. It was approved by more than 80% of voters in November
Where LL stands: By April 10, a selection committee of nine Oakland residents—representing every City Council district, as well as the at-large council member and one representing the mayor—will be chosen. This selection committee will oversee the process of inviting community members to apply to sit on the Police Commission itself and then recommend a representative group from whom the City Council will choose four commissioners and the mayor will select three. If we want an effective, accountable Police Commission, then OCO and the community (and especially those most affected by police misconduct) must make our voices heard and hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire. We have a large stake in the outcome.
The governing ordinance is another important piece in bringing LL’s aims to full fruition. This law outlines the new Police Commission’s role and operations. A draft ordinance is online for 30 days of community comments. Here’s the link: on the City’s web page – the revised 2/6 draft and explanatory memo
The work of grassroots groups like OCO and our allies, like the Coalition for Police Accountability, is both a challenge and an opportunity. We must promote community input on the governing ordinance and community outreach while the selection committee is chosen (between now and April 10) and as the process opens up for commission applications (commissioners will be selected by August 8). This engagement will include public meetings to put pressure on council members and the mayor to appoint commissioners who reflect the community, including those most impacted by abusive police practices.
Note: Terri McWilliams of Imani Community Church and I attended a recent Coalition meeting. We suggested that OCO co-sponsor key community outreach and bring our OCO leaders into the process, especially during this critical period.—Bruce Schmiechen