Saturday, September 14, 2002
( 12:49 PM ) Jackie
Oakland Riders and Other Dirty Cops...and Political Shenanigans
Later: You can see more details of the recent case (discussed below) before Oakland's CPRB on IndyMedia
The long-delayed trial of three of the infamous Oakland Riders began this week.
It is well known that these three (four if you count Vasquez, the one who ran away) are only a small handful of the cops who call themselves the Riders. The City has, however, limited the investigation into misconduct to these cops and to a very small timeframe. Even so, the 26 counts of criminal activity is an impressive list.
Meanwhile, in civil court, Attorney John Burris is representing 116 clients who are victims of the Riders. Besides being abused in various ways, these "clients include people who have served 40 years of unjustified prison time and 90 years of probation as a result of police actions." Lives are stolen by police brutality and torture in many ways.
In definitely related events, on Thursday the Oakland Citizen's Police Review Board, reviewed allegations against Officer Phong Tran (8244) and Officer Michael J. Igualdo (8210). They sustained allegations of excessive force (kicking the citizen in the head) and writing an "untruthful" (ie, false) police report. Ironically, these are among the allegations against the Riders in the trial that started the same day.
And what is the response of Mayor Jerry Brown? Does he think this is "Moving Oakland Forward" (Jerry's slogan)? Apparently, so, for he is not taking the initiative to investigate the problem of police abuse. He settles for the most limited possible investigation of the riders, limiting it to these few (of many Riders) officers and a short time frame. So victims of police torture have no recourse and people sit in jail on trumped charges supported by planted evidence.
And Jerry? He forces through an ordinance to try to get 100 more cops, with no concern for whether they will join the ranks of the good or the evil.
Sure, he's trying to muddy the political waters where he has more than one political boat afloat.
More important, he's evading his very real responsibility for crime and police misconduct. Guess he's trying to be the Teflon Mayor. But I don't think there's enough Teflon to make him a suit that these crimes can slide off of. I for one hold him responsible. And my idea of a Strong mayor has little to do with the initiative he's placed on the ballot and much to do with integrity.
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