Recent Oakland City Council meetings have proved loud and contentious, and with the proposed $250,000 contract to bring on controversial police consultant William Bratton on the agenda, tonight's meeting may be just as raucous.
The former Los Angeles police chief and New York City police commissioner, Bratton is credited with sharp reductions in crime in both those cities.
But some civil rights groups have criticized his "stop-and-frisk" approach in which officers detain individuals they deem to be suspicious and search them for guns. Some opponents also worry that he will push for anti-gang injunctions.
"Some elements on the city council thought that this would be a no brainer," Issac Ontiveros of Stop the Injunctions Coalition told KQED's Andrew Stelzer. "Now what we’re seeing is ‘No, we don’t want this guy, we don’t need this guy,' and Oakland Chief of Police Howard Jordan also distanced himself from Bratton, even as he’s asking him to come on as a consultant."
Opponents have booed and jeered so much during recent City Council meetings that some meetings have shut down.
Bratton's supporters, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, have said they would not support a move toward "stop-and-frisk" which has been linked to racial profiling.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
You don't have to do random stopping of people. I don't support that," Quan said in a phone interview from Washington, where she is attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors and meeting with federal law enforcement officials. "I don't believe in just random stopping of people walking down the streets."
Bratton would not be the first consultant hired by the Oakland Police Department, which has struggled with rising crime at the same time that a lawsuit has put it under the supervision of a court monitor. The East Bay Express reports...
Bratton will be the third former police chief working as a consultant for OPD in recent years. His predecessors have not gotten along with city officials: Robert Warshaw, the former police chief of Rochester and current court-appointed monitor, has clashed repeatedly with City Administrator Deanna Santana, while former Baltimore police commissioner Thomas Frazier, who was hired to review OPD's response to Occupy Oakland last fall, strongly objected to Santana's efforts to censor a highly critical report prepared by his firm.
City officials say Bratton will be paid under a $250,000 agreement with Strategic Policy Partnership, a firm already retained by Oakland to review OPD's best practices and crime reduction strategies. Court documents show Oakland has spent just under $1 million on consultant contracts related to the consent decree in 2012, excluding the new deal that will bring Bratton to Oakland.