Oakland, Calif. — On Oct. 2, Oakland City Council president, Larry Reid, was forced into handing his own “personal” copy of the Oakland Police Department’s report on Officer Miguel Masso’s killing of Alan Blueford to Adam Blueford, Alan’s father. This dramatic event took place in the middle of the City Council meeting in front of hundreds of witnesses and TV cameras.
The thick and heavily redacted report exchanged hands in an attempt by Reid to gain control over the Council meeting. For the second time in a row, the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition was refusing to allow the Council to conduct business as usual until the Blueford family was given the police report, a full five months after Alan, a Black, unarmed, 18-year-old high school senior preparing to graduate was fatally shot.
The Oct. 2 protest had started with a rally at the Alameda County District Attorney’s office in downtown Oakland. That rally was sponsored by an interfaith coalition, which stated in part: “Called to serve liberation and full aliveness for all people, we stand against the excessive use of force, harassment and racial profiling regularly practiced by the Oakland Police Department.”
The Blueford Coalition continues to demand that the DA bring criminal charges against Masso. But instead of trying to present any sympathy toward the Blueford family, the assistant DA was upset that the grouping was there asking questions at all, according to attorney Walter Riley. The group marched from the DA’s office to city hall to speak at the City Council meeting.
When the march reached the Council chambers, less than a hundred of the over 200 supporters were allowed inside before police blockaded the doors to the chambers for a meeting supposedly open to the public. Both balconies, which are normally open to spectators, were closed down as well.
Even people who had signed up in advance to speak to the Council were refused entrance, with the police blocking entry to the stairway leading to the main doors. All this was in response to the coalition’s disruption of the last Council meeting Sept. 18, after the promised police report never appeared. The Blueford supporters had refused to stop talking and chanting, resulting in Reid cancelling that meeting.
‘No justice, no peace!’
The Blueford Coalition came to the Oct. 2 meeting once again demanding that the police report be given to the family. For an hour and a half, the family, interfaith supporters and others spoke, demanding that the Council act to support justice.
Jeralynn Blueford, Alan’s mother, said to the Council: “What mother wouldn’t want to know the chain of custody to his [Alan’s] body? … This is my right as his mother!” Nichola Torbett, director of Seminary of the Street, said: “Peace requires justice. Till you give us justice, there will be no peace,” to which the crowd broke out chanting, “No justice! No peace!”
Outside the chambers, the crowd kept up chanting the whole time. Taking advantage of the rotunda’s acoustics, their loud chants produced echoes, roundly contributing to the disruption inside.
On Oct. 5, lawyers for the Blueford family held a press conference to comment on preliminary findings from initial examination of the police report. Civil rights attorney Dan Siegel said all information about the mystery “gun,” found 20 feet from Alan’s body, was redacted in the police report. The police claimed to have Alan’s thumb print on a clip. Siegel pointed out that Judge Henderson is poised to take over control of the OPD in December, due to previous documentation of the malicious practices of the OPD. Attorney Riley made it very clear that Alan didn’t have a gun in his hand when he was lying, defenseless, on the ground, with his hands up and shot three times by Masso, who also shot himself in the foot.
Riley called this “a homicide.” The report cited witnesses who said Alan’s last words were, “I didn’t do anything!” It took five months before a grieving mother was able to hear her son’s last words!
On Oct. 6, the police report was made public at: tinyurl.com/9lwew45
Video of the Council protest is available at: tinyurl.com/953a2z6
For updates on Justice for Alan Blueford see: justice4alanblueford.org