East Bay News
Oakland City Council meeting disrupted by protest
OAKLAND, Calif. -- About 75 people demonstrating a May fatal police shooting temporarily disrupted a meeting of the Oakland City Council tonight, which struggled to continue the meeting as protesters chanted loudly until the victim's father was handed a police report on the shooting.
Family members and activists for 18-year-old Alan Blueford packed the Council Chamber and the foyer outside the chamber for more than an hour after marching several blocks on 12th Street to City Hall demanding that Oakland police release details of Blueford's death in an officer-involved shooting on May 6.
Blueford's parents, Jeralynn and Adam Blueford, said they have wanted answers from the council for the past five months since the shooting about discrepancies in initial findings by police and why police did not provide them with an official report.
"He can't speak for himself," said Jeralynn Blueford, 46, of her son. "I am here to speak for him. This is my baby and you act like it's no big deal. Let's do something to work together, do something please. You act like you don't care. That is hurtful."
But after the family members spoke and the 15-minute open forum had expired, the council attempted to move on with the agenda away from the Blueford shooting.
Demonstrators who were standing at the podium and in the audience refused to leave the chambers and resumed chanting "Justice" and clapped as the council tried to move to the next item on the agenda, honoring a youth poet.
Councilwoman Libby Schaaf said that the poet, Stephanie Yun, asked to be honored at a subsequent meeting due to the rancor.
Adam Blueford, 49, attempted to speak again, but the microphone was shut off. Council President Larry Reid, amid more chanting, tried unsuccessfully to quell the crowd and get them to sit down.
"We have to conduct business," Reid said. "I am asking you to quiet down. If you do not, I will call a recess and have the Council Chambers cleared."
Reid asked for police officers to remove the demonstrators, but Schaaf presented a motion that only those standing and yelling be removed. Councilwomen Jane Brunner and Desley Brooks then attempted to reason with the still unruly crowd.
"It pains me every time you come here," Brooks said. "Don't just come to shout down a meeting because it accomplishes nothing."
Brooks' remarks seemed to quiet the audience, then they calmed down further when Adam Blueford was handed a new copy of the police report on his son's shooting.
At about the same time, police Chief Howard Jordan issued a statement saying that the report was released to the family's attorney this afternoon, and that he had authorized the public release of the police report.
"I am hopeful that these documents, once posted to the Oakland Police Department's website, will help serve to provide clarification," Jordan said.
But the report received by Adam Blueford in tonight's meeting, about an inch thick, still contained parts blackened out in thick pen.
"It's heavily redacted," Blueford said outside the meeting. "I haven't read it yet."
Blueford was shot and killed in the 9200 block of Birch Street after police said he ran from police in the 1900 block of 90th Avenue just after midnight on May 6.
Police initially reported that Blueford had been killed in an exchange of gunfire that injured the officer. However, the following day police said that while a gun believed to be Blueford's had been recovered, it had not been fired, and the officer's injury to his foot was self-inflicted.
Police said Blueford was transported to a hospital, where he died.
His family has disputed the police accounts, including whether Blueford was armed and whether he was ever taken to a hospital.
Blueford's family previously confronted the City Council on Sept. 18, demanding a police report amid a disruptive protest, leading Reid to abruptly adjourn the meeting with little of the agenda completed.
Today, about 50 people gathered outside of the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse at 12th and Oak streets before marching to City Hall for tonight's meeting.
"The incident hasn't gotten any better for us as a family. It's a tough thing as a family to bury your kid. We want a full investigation of the murder of our son and people held accountable for the murder of our son," Adam Blueford said outside the courthouse today.
The protesters then marched to City Hall, carrying signs like "Oakland police kill," and "OPD Killed, OPD lied."
However, once protesters arrived, only a handful were allowed to enter the meeting, with the rest left outside the Council Chambers. They remained gathered outside the doors tonight, yelling and chanting and demanding to be let in.
Protesters at one point opened the doors and attempted to enter, but were forced out by Oakland police officers.
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