Oakland, Calif. — Hundreds of anti-police brutality advocates marched in solidarity with the family of Raheim Brown Jr. on July 6. Brown was gunned down by Oakland, Calif., school police officers on January 22, 2011. Protesters started with a rally at the Oakland Police Department headquarters and then marched to the school police office to demand justice for Brown and an end to the policing of youth. Families of other African-American youth killed by Oakland and San Francisco police forces also joined and spoke out about the murders of their loved ones.
Unarmed, Brown was barely out of his teens when he was gunned down by school police on Joaquin Miller Road. School officers attempted to pull Brown out of the vehicle he sat in with a female friend, and then shot him seven times, twice in the head. They also brutalized the young woman.
The city of Oakland and its school board employ armed guards to patrol children as young as 11 years old. Last year, Cole Middle School in West Oakland was closed down and now functions as a school police station.
At a time when the school board is claiming there is not enough money to keep schools like Lakeview, Marshall, Santa Fe, Lazear and Maxwell open, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on school police. The fact that there is a separate police department to deal with school children is an abuse of power perpetrated by the school board.