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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ferguson Verdict: Oakland Prepares for Protests

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 11:31 AM

click to enlarge They're ready! - FLICKR/STEVE RHODES
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan fired off a letter to the community today, warning that things could get a little chaotic with protests and demonstrations once a verdict is reached in the Ferguson case. 

A Missouri grand jury is deciding whether or not to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, a white cop, in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. The emotionally charged case sparked violent demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri and beyond. The grand jury is expected to announce its decision any day.

Oakland, which has seen its own share of racial tensions stemming from police shootings of unarmed black men, is expecting the best, but preparing for the worst.  

"Currently, we are aware that on the day that the verdict is announced, several groups have called to gather downtown at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza beginning at 5:00 p.m," Quan said in a letter to the community. "The City of Oakland is committed to facilitating peaceful expressions and demonstrations. Although we don’t anticipate problems to occur, keeping peace on our streets and protecting the safety of Oakland residents and businesses is our top priority and we will be prepared."

Just to be clear, the city is offering up this information as a way to keep everyone in the loop, not to alarm residents.  The point being this: Traffic in downtown could be horrible should demonstrations occur.

OPD will be on hand to deal with these traffic issues and other problems should they occur. Check out to stay informed on traffic problems in downtown. 

Additionally, Healing Centers are being offered as safe alternative venues to engage in productive dialogue and healing around any emotions brought out by the Ferguson verdict. The Healing Centers will be located in West, Central and East Oakland and will be open on the two weekdays immediately following the Ferguson verdict.

Their locations will be:
  • East Oakland: Youth UpRising, 8711 MacArthur Boulevard, (510) 777-1163
  • Central Oakland: Youth Employment Partnership, 2300 International Blvd, (510) 533-3447
  • West Oakland: Healthy Communities/Healthy Oakland: 2 sites
  • 2580 San Pablo Avenue
  • Liberty Hall, 1485 8th Street
And by the way, Quan noted that the Oakland Police Department has significantly improved the ways it handles demonstrations in the city so it's not another Occupy meltdown

Per Quan:
In 2011 I asked for an outside evaluation of the department’s crowd management policies that resulted in a top-to-bottom retraining of the police force and improved OPD practices to keep our residents, our businesses and our officers safe while facilitating free expression. At the same time the department has neared full compliance with our court-ordered reforms, dramatically reduced use-of-force incidents and required officers to wear chest-mounted body cameras on their uniforms. We have successfully facilitated more than 70 demonstrations this year throughout Oakland, and we know that with continued cooperation from our community and the high level of professionalism of our officers, we will continue doing so.
And lastly, Quan offered up some emotion: "Our hearts are with Mike Brown’s family and with every Oakland family touched by violence."

Emergency Assistance

From a landline: call 911
From a cell phone: call (510) 777-3211 (pre-program this number now so it is handy in an emergency)
Anonymously Report Illegal Activity

Call OPD’s anonymous toll-free tip hotline: (855) TIPS-247 (855-847-7247)
Text TIP OAKLANDPD to 888777 from your text-enabled cell phone
Go to to anonymously submit photos of illegal activity using the online submission form

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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