Thursday Must Reads: OPD Shoots at People More Often than Police in Similar Cities; Oakland’s New Police Czar Wants Officers to Use Tasers Instead of Guns



News stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland police officers shoot at people much more often than cops in other cities with high crime rates, and more than twice as often as those in larger cities like San Francisco and San Jose, a Tribune investigation has found. The investigation also found that Oakland police often shoot at unarmed people after mistaking harmless items for weapons, shoot people in the back at an alarmingly high rate, and have a small number of officers on the force who have shot at people repeatedly. The investigation also uncovered troubling evidence about the killing of Gary King Jr. in 2007, who was shot in the back by Sergeant Patrick Gonzales as King was running away, and of OPD’s ongoing inability to adequately investigate internal affairs cases.

Thomas Frazier
  • Thomas Frazier
2. Thomas Frazier, Oakland’s new police czar, unveiled a proposal yesterday that calls for buying 200 Tasers for the department and training officers to use nonlethal force, the Trib reports. Frazier, who was appointed by a federal judge to have sweeping powers over the department, also wants to improve training for officers, including classes on racial profiling, as part of a $2 million spending proposal. Frazier, a former Baltimore police commissioner, also strongly criticized OPD for failing to deal with problem officers.

3. Most brands of lipstick sold in the United States contain lead and other toxic chemicals and should be better regulated by the federal government, UC Berkeley researchers have found, the Chron$ reports. Europe has banned toxic chemicals in lipstick but the United States has not.

4. State Attorney General Kamala Harris has sued Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and other grocery outlets for selling ginger and plum candy that contain lead, SFGate reports. The lawsuit was prompted by a study done by the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland last fall.

5. And a bill by state Senate President Darrell Steinberg that would enact modest reforms to California’s main environmental law — the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) — advanced through committee yesterday, the SacBee$ reports.