Bay Area Officer Provides Unique Perspective On Police Shootings In One-Man Play

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area police officer said he can relate to both sides of the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri. Jinho Ferreira, a musician who protested the Oscar Grant shooting turned police officer and playwright, hopes his duel perspectives can reach many different people.

It came to Ferriera as he walked the streets of Oakland with others protesting the 2009 fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer.

“Be the change you want to see. Don’t talk about it, be about it,” Ferriera told KPIX 5.

Ferriera did not think there were enough law enforcement officers who could identify with Grant. “Either I was going to actually do something about it or I was at least going to stop complaining,” he said.

So he became one, an Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy. But that wasn’t enough.

Ferriera, a West Oakland native who has traveled the world as a member of the Oakland rap group Flipsyde, wanted to write a play.

It’s called “Cops and Robbers,” a one-man show directed by Lou Levinson and Amy Zens. The show deconstructs a fictional officer-involved shooting, one not so different from the one that has sparked protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri.

“It’s almost as if I wrote it after watching this entire Ferguson thing unfold on the news,” Ferriera said.

Ferriera said that’s because these shootings keep happening, a vicious cycle that he can only hope his show and perspective can start changing. “Anytime a young black man in this country loses his life it hurts me and makes me sick. And I want us to be able to channel that energy, that hurt, that pain, channel it into a creative solution into moving forward,” he said.

“Cops and Robbers” is playing at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley through September 13th.

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