OAKLAND (KCBS) – Just as in Ferguson, Missouri, the city of Oakland has been rocked in the past by civil unrest, both during the Occupy protests and also following the shooting of Oscar Grant.
Oakland police clashed with Occupy Oakland demonstrators in 2011, firing tear gas and bean bag rounds. The handling of those protests prompted an independent investigation, the Frazier Report, which was highly critical of police action.
But Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said things are improving.
“For over a year, we haven’t had a use of force by an Oakland police officer. The complaints against the police department are dramatically down,” Mayor Quan said. “Just knock on wood, I’m grateful that we’re making progress.”
Every officer within the police department has been trained in handling demonstrations, and several academies have graduated since that time. Quan said there are efforts to hire more Oakland kids as officers.
“Those people being more diverse and speaking more languages and more women,” she said. “Everybody is telling me that the relationship between police and the community seems better. I was told that at every stop [during] National Night Out.”
And has she watched the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri? “I remember texting the first day to the chief and said, let’s take these videos and use them as what we won’t do ever again,” Quan said.
The mayor said she believes as relations between the police and community will continue to improve, healing some of the scars from previous incidents.