Vallejo is a city of about 120,000 residents who make up one of the most racially mixed cities in the country. And it has one of the highest rates of police shootings per capita in Northern California and the third highest in the state, according to a recent NBC News investigation. In 2012, the rate of fatal police shootings in Vallejo was 38 times the national rate and 20 times more than Oakland and San Francisco.
“People are saying that... there's no responsibility,” Taylor said. “I think that's what it boils down to. These events have happened and no one has been held responsible.”
While the sense of rage in Vallejo has existed for years, there appears to be traction behind this movement. In recent weeks, residents have made headlines for emotional protests at Vallejo City Hall. Cat Brooks, a well-known activist from Oakland, and civil rights attorney John Burris have thrown in their support. The families of Stephon Clark and Oscar Grant have joined the protests in solidarity.
“If this was Oakland or San Francisco you would have people in the streets day after day after day,” Taylor said. “Vallejo is just far enough away. You only have the Vallejo Times Herald -- one news organization. Things go unchecked. And as we're seeing Vallejo people are dying as a result. That's not hyperbole. This is what's happening.”
The city of Vallejo has agreed to work with the U.S. Justice Department to improve the police department's culture and its policies. It's brought in former Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan as a special adviser to work on community relations. Howard comes from the Oakland Police Department after abruptly resigning amid controversy. Vallejo is also looking for new police chief after its current leader retires this summer.
“If there aren't changes made at the top that say ‘if you do this, you will be held responsible,’ someone else is going to die,” Taylor said.
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