There was no justice to be found at the Oakland City Council meeting last night. For half an hour the Alan Blueford family begged Council members for answers as to why their son had been murdered by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6th, 2012 (also I Am The Mother of Murder Victim Alan Blueford). For forty-five minutes they waited while the Council took "a ten minute break" -- Police Chief Howard Jordan had been summoned, supposedly with the previously unavailable police report of Alan's death in hand. Then, after reconvening, the Council attempted one of the most ironic acts of all time instead of addressing the Bluefords again. They proceeded to the motion to
Adopt A Resolution Declaring Oakland As An International City Of Peace, And September 21, 2012 As Oakland's International Day Of Peace
They did not get far. The City Council adjourned. Without even a vote.
The Blueford family had attended a City Council meeting in May, weeks after the death of their son. At that time they had pleaded with the City Council to help them, and City Council President Larry Reid promised that he would aid the family, going so far as to say that he was so disturbed by Alan's death that he had considered resigning.
By July, as one might expect, nothing had happened. The police, conspiring with the Coroner's office and likely the District Attorney, had managed to keep the Coroner's report from being released. The Police report on the shooting was nowhere to be found.
After intense pressure by the family (and a blood money payment of more than $300 because Alan was not considered a homicide victim) the Coroner's office released the Coroner's report, showing that Alan had no gun residue on his hands (Masso had initially claimed that Alan shot at him), had no drugs or alcohol in his system, and was likely shot while on the ground, since bullets entered his body at an upward angle. Still there was a wall of silence -- from the Council, from the police, and from the District Attorney.
The family, in conjunction with the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition, had had enough. They planned to attend the City Council meeting scheduled for the very end of July to demand answers and justice. But the Council, deciding to take a summer break longer even than the one Congress gets away with, cancelled that and all of August's meetings. Later, for good measure, they cancelled the one scheduled for September 4th. And so it was that September 18th became the first night the City Council was to meet after the Bluefords had decided that murder would not go unchallenged any longer.
The Coalition had spread the word far and wide. Through the Interfaith Community, through Occupy Oakland, via neighborhood BBQ's and word-of-mouth: "Something was going to happen Tuesday evening at City Hall. Be there!" Indeed, this time we would be going to the Council Meeting not with hat in hand, rather with pitchforks and torches (metaphorically speaking, of course).
HobgoblinOfCommunism @OakScottAfter a brief rally on the steps of City Hall at least one hundred and thirty Justice 4 Alan Blueford supporters filled Council chambers. All Council meetings begin with an 'Open Forum,' fifteen minutes in which those who have signed up to speak can give the City Council -- who are usually playing games on their phones or doodling -- a piece of their mind.
Just signed up the Blueford's to speak at the City Council meeting tonight. I hope somebody in City Hall is shitting their pants right now.
The Bluefords speak.
The Bluefords rose as a family, father, mother, sister, aunt and cousins, to speak.
Alyssa @alyssa011968Others followed.
Mr Blueford in tears asking CIty CouncIl If anyone cares. And why they lie about son http://pic.twitter.com/...
'I'm broken, shattered, devastated - to bury my son' #OakMtg #Justice4Alan http://oakland.granicus.com/...
Alan Bluford's father angered D Santana promised his son's reputation wouldn't be maligned, #OPD talked about his record next day. #oakmtg
Solidarity Vom @rollieprole
Alan's sister: "I came home from the East Coast to watch him walk across the stage not to bury him." #justice4AlanBlueford #oakmtg
Lady G @LadyGoftheTACAt some point while the Bluefords were speaking, demanding to know what had happened to the police report, Deanna Santana, the City Manager, told Council President Reid or announced herself that Police Chief Howard Jordan was "on his way," police report in hand.
"We have enough of our own people killing each other." #Oakmtg
After another set of speakers had had their say, with others still wishing to speak and with no Howard Jordan or police report in sight, Larry Reid, obviously nervous, said the Council would take a "10 minute break."
Larry Reid now threatening to shut down the #OakMtg again. Telling chambers that the next speaker will be the last. Then calls recess.
RT "@rollieprole: Never seen Reid clasping his hands so nervously. CC pushing for a private Meeting. Hojo still not here. #oakmtg"
Ten minutes turned into twenty, as Council members came and talked to the Blueford family, attempting as only politicians can to positiion themselves in the best possible light, even after their worthless gestures and promises months ago. Twenty minutes turned into thirty as the crowd got restless, beginning to sporadically chant and clap.
Thirty minutes turned into forty, as "negotiations" with the Blueford family just outside chambers went on and reporters pressed for interviews.
TDL @tdlove5At least forty-five minutes after an alleged ten minute break the meeting resumed, with Council member De La Fuente chairing. He announced to the crowd that the Bluefords were meeting with President Reid just outside the chamber, but there was just one small problem: the entire Blueford family was seated in the second row. The crowd was not, shall we say, impressed.
Via ear hustle: many reporters clammoring for an interview with the family. All they want is a police report. #oakland #oakmtg.
No Justice, No Peace.
I could describe what happened next, but Darwin Bond-Graham says it far better than I ever could:
De La Fuente unfortunately attempted to move the city onto other business, creating an irony fit for the ages. On the city's agenda was a resolution that would deem Oakland a "city of peace," formally stamping September 21 as Oakland's "international day of peace." The City Clerk's recital of the absurdly timed and obviously inappropriate peace resolution elicited an angry and flabbergasted boo from the audience, and a new chant -- "no justice, no peace!"
"No justice, no peace!"
It's getting crazy. People shouting no justce no peace in #OaklandCityCoucil #shitabouttohitfan in #oakland
The chambers became a deafening roar of booing, chanting, clapping and whistling, all intended to prevent any business as usual from occurring until the police chief appeared or substantive answers were provided to address Alan Blueford's death.Aftermath.
Within minutes Council president Larry Reid re-entered the chambers attempting to gain control of the meeting, but it was too late. Months of abdication and irresponsibility by the city's leaders had allowed a questionable killing of a teenager to go unanswered, even while new facts emerged that indicated Alan Blueford was quite simply murdered...
Reid picked up his papers and made for the exit under a storm of jeers and cries of "shame!" from the galleries. "We'll be back!, We'll be back," chanted Alan Blueford's family and their supporters who exited City Hall to gather on its steps in the early evening darkness for a rally.
"I can't bring Alan back, but I can stand up for him today," said Jeralynn Blueford.
According to reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, it was all a lie. There was to be no police report. There was to be no Howard Jordan.
City Administrator Deanna Santana said after the meeting that Reid's statement about the arrival of the police report was the result of "confusion" and "miscommunication."
Santana said the city would give the family's attorney, John Burris, a redacted copy of the report, but Jordan said it was not clear when that would happen.
When Adam Blueford, 49, the father of the slain man, was told by The Chronicle that he would be given a redacted report, he responded, "We don't want a redacted copy. We're looking for the truth."
1. Officer Masso must be... prosecuted for the murder of Alan Blueford.
2. Chief Howard Jordan... must be held accountable for the multiple lies related to the shooting of Alan Blueford, the circumstances surrounding the officers' decision to approach and stop Alan... the denial of medical care following the shooting...
3. OPD must publicly acknowledge the lies regarding the murder
4. OPD must immediately release the police report
5. Repeal the Officer's Bill of Rights which shields the wrongful conduct of violent police officers...
6. Legislative changes to "stop and frisk" laws which in reality have become "stop and kill" laws targeting black and brown teenagers....
It was just another day in Oakland.
The City that has -- not yet -- proclaimed itself a City of Peace.
Susie Cagle @susie_cBut will, despite all evidence to the contrary.
No justice, no International City of Peace! #Oakland #oakmtg
Photo credits: Occupythemob for the gallery shot, MissMollie33 for the banner photo, and Allie123 for the others.
11:08 AM PT: Sign the petition for Justice 4 Alan Blueford!