Race Issues Raised When Oakland Firefighter, Kids Detained By Police Officer
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OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A black Oakland firefighter has filed a complaint with the Oakland Police Department after he and his young kids were detained by a white police officer outside the station where the firefighter worked.
It was 10:45 p.m., after a recent Raiders game. Veteran firefighter Keith Jones and his two sons, ages 9 and 12, were walking back to their SUV at Station 29. A fire crew responding to an emergency had forgotten to close the garage door. Jones went in to make sure everything was secure.
As Jones walked out, he said a police officer, responding to a possible burglary in progress, yelled “Don’t move, put your hands up.”
“And his hand is on his gun. He was crouched, he was low, and he was basically in a shooting stance,” Jones said.
Jones complied, but noticed his 9-year-old son Trevon was starting to cry. The officer saw the two kids first and had already told them to raise their hands.
Jones said he told the officer that he was an Oakland firefighter, that he worked at the station and that they were his kids. He asked the officer to allow his kids to lower their hands and tell them everything is OK. Jones said the officer told them to keep their hands up and not to move.
The firefighter said this lasted for a few minutes.
“I’m pretty much thinking he’s going to pretty much shoot me,” Jones said.
“I was thinking is he going to shoot my dad the whole time,” said 12-year-old Keith Jones II.
“I was getting ready about to cry. My hands started to get tired, but I kept them up,” said 9-year-old Trevon Jones.
Eventually, the lone officer allowed Jones to reach into his pocket and show his firefighter ID. Jones said the incident traumatized his kids and changed their perception of police officers.
“Images in my head, think about how my day would have got shot. I keep on trying to forget about it ‘cause it scares me a lot,” Trevon Jones said.
“I think they view black males as a threat,” the firefighter said.
Don Cameron, a police trainer who does not work for Oakland Police and is not involved in the case, said the new officer was following protocol.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with race at all. I think the officer, hey I’ve got a burglary in progress, there’s people right here, that’s a guy walking out of the location. I don’t know who he is,” he said.
Cameron also said the officer should have apologized to Jones and his children.
The incident has prompted Oakland’s fire chief to contact the police chief about the incident.
Oakland Police said the entire incident was caught on the police officer’s wearable body camera. Internal Affairs is now reviewing the complaint.