Alan Blueford's Family Asks for Council Help in Oakland Police Shooting
It was standing room only at Tuesday night's City Council meeting, as concerned citizens cheered, jeered and pled for justice in the case of Alan Blueford.
Blueford was shot and killed by the Oakland Police Department in the 9200 block of Birch Street on May 6, two weeks before his graduation from Skyline High School. Police initially reported that the 18-year-old was killed in an exchange of gunfire with officer Miguel Masso, but later stated that a gun believed to belong to Blueford was not fired.
"The story has changed so many times, and we can't stand for it," said Jeralynn Blueford, Alan's mother. "You don’t know what if feels like to bury your baby. I'm broken, I'm shattered, I'm devastated. I don’t care if he did run, running isn’t a crime; you don’t deserve to be assassinated because you ran."
Claps and chants erupted from the packed chamber several times during the Bluefords time at the podium, and several speakers ceded their allotted time to the family, who spoke for nearly an hour. In response to protesters and Blueford supporters who attempted to shut down the meeting, the City Council quickly left the room and postponed the session for two weeks.
Other family members implored the Council President Larry Reid to uncover more information about Blueford's death by releasing the police report. The crowd repeatedly yelled, "shame" and asked for Police Chief Howard Jordan, who did not attend the meeting but later spoke with the family.
"All we ask for you to do today is to help us….My nephew laid out on that street all night. The police went to the hospital, my nephew laid there dead; nobody tried to help my nephew," said Alan's aunt, Roberta Blueford, referring to police assertion that the teen was transferred to Highland Hospital.
Others said Officer Masso, who was involved in a 2007 civil rights lawsuit while with the NYPD, should be arrested for murder.
"We have enough of our own people killing each other, we don’t need the people who are here to serve and protect us killing," said a pastor associated with the family. "Pastors of Oakland are looking for answers and this family is looking for answers and if this man committed a crime, he should be arrested."
After the Bluefords finished speaking, the Council heard a long line of outraged speakers before ending the public hearing portion of the session. Following a 30-minute recess, the council attempted to move on with its first agenda item -- declaring Oakland an international city of peace and Sept. 21 as the city's international day of piece -- but were interrupted by boos and disbanded shortly after.
Outside city hall, members of the Black is Back Coalition and relatives of Oscar Grant urged the crowd to seek justice for men killed by Oakland Police.
"What we have to do here is just what we did tonight. If they won't give us answers, we won't let them conduct business," said Bobby Johnson, Oscar Grant's uncle.
The Blueford family thanked supporters for standing in solidarity and assured the crowd that they would continue to fight for justice.
"Together we can make a change. We'll come back and come back, we're gonna keep the pressure on them till we get all the answers," Jeralynn Blueford said.
Source: Oakland Local [http://m.oaklandlocal.com/article/alan-bluefords-family-asks-council-help-oakland-police-shooting]