Bratton controversy divides Oakland community as council approves contract 7-1

Adam Blueford, whose teenage son Alan Blueford was fatally shot by Oakland police, spoke at Tuesday's meeting.
Screen shot from video by Daniel Arauz

Following a highly attended and closely watched meeting on Tuesday, Oakland City Council voted 7-1 to approve a $250,000 contract to hire a team of police consultants which includes controversial stop-and-frisk advocate Bill Bratton. During an eight-hour meeting that went until 2 a.m., hundreds of residents crammed into the council chambers to weigh in, some voicing concerns about what Bratton would mean for Oakland and others offering support for bringing him on to advise the Oakland Police Department (OPD) on combating crime.

While several council members voiced reservations about Bratton’s association with the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, only District 6 Councilmember Desley Brooks voted against the contract. Brooks stressed that any effort to fight crime in Oakland would require more than aggressive policing, and must address the root causes of criminal activity.

"A vote against this contract tonight is not about not being serious about crime,” she said. “It's about [how] we need to do the real work. The real work to address crime in this community."

Speaking to the SF Bay Guardian after the meeting, District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney echoed many of Brook’s concerns. “Of course we have deal with poverty and access to education,” she said. “But that isn’t going to stop the bleeding now.” But in the end, McElhaney deferred to Jordan. “It’s about supporting the police chief who says he needs new resources to get the job done,” she said.

African American clergymen Bishop Bob Jackson, Bishop Frank Pincard and Reverend Gregory Payton voiced support for the contract. Jackson, who leads the 7,500-member Acts Full of Gospel Church in East Oakland, lamented a wave of violent crime that claimed more than 130 lives in 2012. “It’s gotten way out of control,” he said. “If Bratton can help stop the bloodshed, then I am for Bratton.”

Yet opponents of the contract expressed concern that Bratton’s support for stop-and-frisk policing would further exacerbate tensions between OPD and the community. “Stop-and-frisk will blow up in our face,” said Adam Blueford, whose teenage son Alan Blueford was fatally shot by Oakland police last May.

This clip was originally posted to Vimeo by Daniel Arauz.

George Holland, president of the Oakland branch of the NAACP, echoed these concerns, saying the NAACP opposes stop-and-frisk because “it invariably leads to racial profiling.”

In a presentation outlining the details of the $250,000 contract, Jordan stated that despite Bratton’s support for stop-and-frisk, there were no plans to implement the controversial tactic in Oakland.  “I do not support stop-and-frisk, I will not condone it, and we will practice constitutional policing,” the police chief assured the crowd.

But the practice, which was deemed unconstitutional earlier this month by a federal court ruling on its use in the Bronx in New York, is central to Bratton’s philosophy on policing. In a recent interview, Bratton told CBS San Francisco, “For any city to say they don’t do ‘stop-and-frisk’…I’m sorry, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about … Any police department in America that tries to function without some form of ‘stop-and-frisk,’ or whatever terminology they use, is doomed to failure. It’s that simple.”


CHP officers have been doing that for a while, and have already made various seizures of drugs and guns, and found many breaking the terms of their parole or probation, leading to many arrests.

You may not like SnF, but it works. Even Oakland's hopeless council have finally realized that.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 11:51 am

Adam Blueford was shot because he was a parolee with a stolen gun, ran from the police, and pointed the gun at an officer. Guys like him and Kenneth Harding are usually either going to be the perpetrators or victims of gun violence. Why do people keep trying to tout them as examples of "police violence" against minority communities?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

civil rights being violated, they were up to no good in the first place.

Ditto those who the cops shoot.

One day I have a dream that we will have more sympathy for the victims of crime over the perpetrators of crime.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

Alan blueford was an 18 year old w no criminal record. He was afraid of the corrupt cops in oakland and ran. He had no gun ...before u speak get rhe facts. .

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

Alan Blueford was an 18 year old on FELONY probation for burglary in San Joaquin county.

And there was a gun found on him. The gun that was found on him was stolen from a cop's house in Mountain House California. You know where Mountain Home is? 12 miles from Blueford's home in Tracy California. Quite a coincidence, no? A gun that was stolen from a house 100 some miles from Oakland next to a person who used to live only 12 miles from the burgled home and had a felony conviction for burglary.

You can't possibly be this stupid. Multiple witnesses, who have no connection to either OPD or Blueford saw a gun. Even John Burris has acknowledged that Blueford had a gun (he says that he didn't point it at the officer though). And his criminal conviction is public record. Try getting the facts from actual news sources and not people at a rally.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

Yes, there were many more witnesses that did not see Alan with a gun. Alan was on the ground when Miguel Masso murdered him. There is no DNA of Alan's on the gun so how could it be something Alan was carrying?? It can't! The 1/2 thumb print found on the magazine is from the wrong hand and most likely Masso put this on it. Alan's previous issues resulted in juvenile probation - not something more serious. Alan was murdered. Alan was racially profiled then murdered by OPD. Now OPD is covering it up.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

Just because SOME witnesses didn't see him with a gun doesn't mean anything. Their views could have been blocked, they might have arrived AFTER the shooting, might not have been able to see the gun from where they were standing, any number of reasons. What you fail to admit is that SEVERAL witnesses saw the whole thing, saw Blueford with a gun, AND at least one saw him raise it.

DNA does NOT transfer from a person to something just by touching it. That's not how DNA works. That's how fingerprints work.

Blueford's previous criminal past explains how he got the gun too. Stolen gun from a burgled house, suspect with a felony burglary conviction, and it was stolen 12 miles from where the suspect lived? Interesting set of coincidences.

And why don't you explain how the thumb print on the magazine was "from the wrong hand?" A thumb print on a magazine can be from EITHER hand, there is no "wrong hand". And in order for your dumb ass theory to work, Masso would have had to go up to Blueford (while he was shot in the foot BTW), eject the magazine from the gun, grab his hand and put a thumbprint on the magazine, put it back, AND do it all in front of a dozen witnesses without anyone noticing. This cop must be fucking Houdini because no one saw anything and any regular person trying to "frame" Blueford would have just put the gun in his hand.

But yeah we know, racial profiling, OPD bad, blah blah, blah.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

Most of the witnesses were at the same party, very close to the scene.. not arriving late as you suggest. There were 38 witnesses. No one saw him raise a gun.

5 witnesses heard Alan say "I didn't do anything" as Masso shot him.

Why don't you question Officer Masso's actions?? He shot himself in the foot - not from his holster but straight down, then got on the radio and said "Officer down." but when his OPD colleagues arrived, Masso said "I swear he had a gun", as if trying to convince.

Masso also failed to turn his lapel camera on. This is regulation. Masso was hiding something.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2013 @ 9:06 am

There was no DNA of Alan's on that gun. The 1/2 print on the magazine was likely put there by Masso as a cover up. There is absolutely NO evidence that Alan pointed a gun at an officer, and THE TRUTH is the evidence shows he DID NOT POINT A GUN OR HOLD A GUN. More witnesses said Alan was on his back when Masso shot him -- Alan with no gun, no threat, no weapon, doing nothing illegal. ALAN WAS UNJUSTIFIABLY MURDERED BY MIGUEL MASSO & COVERED UP BY OPD AND OAKLAND DA.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

Kenneth Harding had a budding career as a rapper just getting underway when he was gunned down by police. He was an innocent man. Granted, he had evaded a MUNI fare. But that's no reason to kill somebody in cold blood in broad daylight.

The video is on YouTube. He wasn't holding a gun.

Fortunately, Counsel Burris is on the case. He will win a settlement for the Harding Family. Which is stil grieving on year after the incident.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

How many CPA's get gunned down by cops for walking down the street?

Posted by anon on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 3:31 pm

I loved that. Too much entertainment on this board.

Posted by Scram on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

Fact is, rapping is poetry.

Harding and many others use it to express themselves, the times, their unfortunate circumstance underneath the capitalist bootstrap.

You got something against poetry? Something against art?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 6:30 am

No I don't have "something against art", lol...

But here's the deal. If I have committed multiple felonies, pimped out a few 14 year old girls, had a few armed robberies here and there, and likely murdered a pregnant woman, would anybody give a *fuck* if I also did pottery??

You know, forget all those other minor details, I can mold the shit outta some clay. Let's focus on that. No, you don't want to? Why? You have something against pottery - against art?

Posted by Scram on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 9:49 am

you'll get a pass from all the thug apologists and cop-haters here.

Posted by anon on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

Baiting troll.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

Anybody who thinks the police must have proper civilian oversight is a "cop hater."

In reality, there isn't *nearly* as much cop hating as is alleged, and most people *know* that there are both good cops and bad cops.

The ones doing most of the hating are them who go into rabid spasms whenever any criticism or even the questioning of cop behavior is heard.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

remarkably little criticism of criminals nor sympatyhy for the victims of crime.

So the expressed sentiment is understandable.

Posted by anon on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

So you don't think any of the posters on this article who were saying Blueford was just an innocent victim of not just the racist OPD but of a massive cover up from the DA, coroner's office, and unaffiliated witnesses are cop haters?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

Kenneth Harding was a rapper. You think it would be different if he was a potter or a musician? He was an emerging artist. So was Picasso at one place and time.

He grew up the hard way. A hard life with little no money food on the table. So now it is okay to kill the man for evading a bus fare?

You're delusionel.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

Killed for "evading a bus fare?" Let's try to go through this so simply even YOU can understand:
- He was STOPPED for evading a bus fare.
- If he had paid his damn bus fare and was stopped, all he had to do was show him the transfer and he'd have been on his way with no questions.
- He ran because he was violating his parole (for pimping out an underage girl) by being in SF.
- He ran because he had an illegal gun (carrying concealed, youth in possession of a firearm, AND felon in possession of a firearm).
- He ran because he was wanted in connection with the murder of a pregnant woman in Seattle.
- He shot at police randomly behind his back in order to get away.
- The police fired back and hit him in the leg.
- When he got hit, he tripped and shot himself through the neck.

How the hell was he an "emerging artist?" Have you listened to his music? It must have been mind-blowingly phenomenal for you to put him in the same sentence as Picasso. And I'm pretty sure Picasso never ran around shooting at the police and spent time in prison for pimping.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

Harding killed himself because he thoughts guns operated like the do on TV.

The person who killed Kenneth Harding is Kenneth Harding.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

The thug life is about the highest form of capitalism to be found.

Prostitution from the pimp is about exploiting another person for economic gain and giving the prostitute as little as possible. Harding attempted to pimp a teen girl, for which he was convicted.

Drug dealing, pimping, extortion, armed robbery etc.. are all done tax free, much of it done at the expense of the victim. It's baffling that you defend someone taking part in the purest form of capitalism by stating that this person is a victim of capitalism.

The thing that you Pseudo Intellectuals fail to understand is that the losers you defend with weird rationalizations is that they want to exploit others for gain, they don't want to drive a tractor in a Ukranian collective for shoes and vodka.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

He was not gunned down by police! He was shot in the neck by a .380. Police do not carry .380s!!! He was hit in the leg with a police round, tripped, and accidentally shot himself in the neck. And the only reason police fired at him because he fired rounds off at them while he was running.

I'm sure his family still misses him. That doesn't mean they should get anything. Kenneth Harding was anything BUT an innocent man. He was a parolee who was in possession of a gun, in violation of his parole because he was here, shot at police, AND was wanted in connection with the murder of a pregnant woman back in Seattle. Sooner or later he would have gone back to prison or become a statistic (probably at the hands of another black male).

And a video on Youtube doesn't mean anything. Unless that video shows the entire chase, it doesn't tell the full story. All the video shows is the Harding on the ground. And I saw a video of someone in the crowd picking up a silver metallic object (probably the gun) on the ground and leaving the scene of the crime.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

The guys that have this shit happen to them usually have it coming, one way or another, feel me?

Posted by anon on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 4:02 pm


Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

Harding on vacation from parole decides to not pay the two bucks for MUNI, probably because he's a self styled rebel. Knowing that he's going to be arrested and sent back to Seattle he runs. Thinking that guns work like they do on TV he pulls his gun out and shoots himself, in his empty skull.

The shot tracker reports the timing of the shots and their caliber, The trajectory of the bullet is upwards into the skull. These two facts by themselves debunk all of the conspiracy theories of the Burris crowd.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

In what situation do you NOT feel bad for the cop? I've yet to hear of one. You always find an angle to take the cop's side.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 28, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

or basketball players when they were cruelly shot down by the po-lice? Not everyone who can throw a rhyme is the next Jay Z nor is someone who can land a land free throw the next Magic Johnson. Thug life doesn't pay. It's the very, very, very, very few who make it in the worlds of entertainment or sports.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

'Thug life doesn't pay."

Quite the contrary. It pays quite well for corporatist thugs, including corporatist thug politicians. And then you have the thugs in the military branches. It pays quite well for them too.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

Mo' money usually ends up being mo' time in prison.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

to actual victims of police brutality. He was thug who thought he could outrun the police and was so confident of his abilities that he decided to shoot a weapon at them. Suicide by cop does not a martyr make.

Posted by aml on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

Is it irony? Burris is on the case? Isn't that a joke to 90% of the population?

Posted by matlock on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

Oakland is on the come up. Being an OPD would be the most high tension, fearful, dangerous, and intense job. There is a part of Oakland called Little Iraq, and not because of its Iraqi population, imagine patrolling that little piece of paradise, no wait imagine that's your home because that's the only place you can afford to live, you have a child, that child's future rests in the hands of the people of Oakland doing the right thing and taking steps towards a better future. I am not an advocate of police, merely an observer noticing that something is very wrong.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 11:49 am

It's the rest of that poxy city government that needs to have a hatchet taken to them.

Posted by anon on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

Oakland could be an exception where it is a very tough job but Oakland is the exception. There is a reason you never see a newpaper print the average wages and benefits of a cop or firefighter in SF - they's both averaging (including rookies) about $185k - almost triple the average of a resident.

So if their greedy unions are going to demand and extort huge pay at the expense of potholes and safety nets - fine, but stop draping yourself in the American flag and calling yourselves "heroes." You're not - see member of the military for real heroes.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

make, but presumably the current levels of compensation are what it takes to get qualified guys to do the job. And in fact, OPD is chronically understaffed even with that absurdly high pay scale.

The simple fact is that the voters are willing to pay up to be safe, and reserve their real anger for overpaid bus drivers, janitors and bureaucrats.

No bureaucrat ever came to protect me against armed thugs.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

In fact the cops ARE the armed thugs. Who will protect me from THEM?

Posted by Greg on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 3:46 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

Pollyannish troll.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

cop, and they are welcome to stop and frisk me at any time.

Only the guilty fear the cops.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

The only witness who didn't say that Alan Blueford was prone when Officer Masso shot him was Masso, who shot himself in the foot and initially blamed it on Blueford, but had to recant his story because the medical examiner found no evidence of gunpowder residue on Blueford's hands.

How many cops have their houses robbed and guns stolen? Even if the house was burgled, wouldn't the gun be in a locked gun safe? Only half of a fingerprint on a cartridge, none on the gun?

These are troubling questions. Police deserve heightened scrutiny because they can legally kill us.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

The gun WAS locked in a gun safe (along with 5 others). The criminals just took the whole safe. And it was just a coincidence that the gun found next to Blueford was stolen from a house 12 miles from his residence? And both houses are over 100 miles from where he was shot? AND he has a prior felony conviction for burglary?

And the fingerprint was not on a cartridge, it was on the magazine. Criminals often wipe off the bullets and gun, but forget to wipe off the magazine.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

after brandishing it and being shot? Or he didn't brandish it (if it was indeed in his posession) and the shooting was unjustified.

Officer Miguel Masso also has a history of violence against prisoners in a prior gig in New York City. Is that a coincidence?

Or the fact that an officer with the same last name, Thomas Masso, was convicted of gun running in New York? Coincidences are easy to find. I prefer evidence, and the evidence here points to an unjustified shooting of a retreating suspect.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

I notice you that your earlier post first called out that the gun should've been in a safe. Which I refuted. I also notice that you didn't address where the gun was stolen from and how it was odd that it ended up 100 miles away with a person who was a convicted burglar and who used to live near where the gun was stolen from. You now try to insinuate that somehow the officer stole the gun (or had the gun stolen) and just happened to plant it on, of all people, THIS suspect.

Do you actually know that his fingerprints were not on the gun? Because it sounds like something that John Burris (or Blueford's parents) would be bringing up in their numerous press conferences. Odds are his prints were on the gun AND the print on the magazine is just confirmation instead of saying that the gun was just planted. It's hard to put someone's prints on a magazine in front of multiple witnesses without one person bringing it up that an officer pulled out a gun, ejected the magazine, put the dead suspect's thumb print on it, and put it back.

Even Burris has acknowledged that it was Blueford's gun and that he did have it on him. His lawsuit is based on whether Blueford pulled the gun on Masso and posed a credible threat.

Is there police misconduct? Of course. But it's idiots like you holding up a case like this that destroys any credibility that you would have in a case of TRUE police brutality.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

The evidence shows that a police officer shot a fleeing subject who was prone according to all eyewitnesses except the police officer. A police officer who lied about being shot because he shot himself. A police officer with a history of violence against prisoners in jail, which cost him his job in New York City.

This case is not as cut and dry as you try to portray it. I appreciate you filling me in about the robbery from the cop's house in Mountain House, which is less than 50 miles from Oakland to be accurate, although I have no idea why that distance matters.

Remember Raheim Brown. Remember Oscar Grant. Both unarmed. If the BART police had been successful in confiscating all cell phone video as they tried at the Fruitvale station in the Oscar Grant case, the only version the public would have heard would have been their untruthful one. In the Blueford case, the police department is still witholding evidence. Why?

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

Police unions leverage exaggerated threats to safety in the event they are seeking more money and benefits - see Stockton and San Jose. They also exploited 9/11 for more money - see SF.

Again - being a cop in Oakland is tough - they actually might be close market pay but unions always manipulate "waiting lists" so one never knows the clear picture.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

I'm torn on the issue of OPD salaries. Yes, they have one of the most dangerous and thankless jobs in the country (no community support, idiotic top brass, and politicians always ready to throw them under the bus). But on the other hand their high salaries are draining the budget for more officers.

It's a self-defeating cycle. Cops want more money to work under these conditions but the cost keeps more cops from getting hired. 1/2 strength police force equals more crime. More crime means less businesses want to invest in the city which means less tax revenue to hire more cops.

The other night a friend's car got broken into near Jack London. They wanted to call the cops but I said "why bother?". They're not going to respond. OPD has a force of about 600 officers. I saw Larry Reid on the news the other night and he said that around 200 are off or on disability or limited duty at any one time. Factor in an overstaffed command structure and officers dedicated to Internal Affairs, sex crimes, and other specialized units, I'm guessing that OPD has maybe 300 officers max to patrol the city. There hands are so full with shootings and robberies that they don't even bother responding to car break-ins or burglaries.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 6:55 pm apparently down 75% since the layoffs. So maybe we're approaching a staffing level where they actually do have to focus on real police work. Although even now, I'm not sure how much of it is necessity due to staffing cuts, and how much is giving the middle finger to the city (by collecting less revenue as a method of protest). Either way, ordinary citizens win by having fewer donut-eaters around writing tickets.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 26, 2013 @ 10:14 pm