East Bay News

Family seeks answers about Blueford's death

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The family of an 18-year-old killed by Oakland police are still looking for answers into what happened the day he was shot. Police say Alan Blueford pointed a gun at an officer and now they have released a portion of the police report.

"We're just trying to get answers and we say it, and say it, and say it. And we haven't been able to get any answers. At every turn we've been shut down," said a relative of Blueford's.

The family of Blueford continues to demand answers related to the death of their son. Tuesday night's City Council meeting was filled once again with family and supporters who accuse police and city leaders of dragging their feet in releasing details on the May 6th shooting, and worse - concealing key elements of the investigation.

"Unfortunately, it takes time," said City Councilmember Larry Reid. He says the family deserves to know the truth, and so does the public. "People want answers, then they should let the process run its course. "It's incumbent upon all of us, all the parties, to make sure that we provide them with the answers."

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan claims he is doing his best to provide those answers. He released a redacted report Tuesday night on the investigation. In a statement, he says the report will not answer all questions, but will provide independently corroborated facts.

"It's one that should have been given and could have been given, months ago," said Oakland attorney John Burris.

Burris is representing the Blueford family in their wrongful death suit against the city. He says the police report provides some basic information, but that it also raises more questions than it answers.

"A number of witnesses do not see the young man point a gun at the officers. A number of them do not even see a gun on the part of the kid," said Burris.

Burris admits that the report also states that there are those who did see a gun on Blueford and that Blueford fired that weapon at officers, but as he points out that's in direct contradiction to other witness statements that say Blueford never fired a weapon.

"They came to me, they want to know what happened. So I'm trying to help them understand the circumstances surrounding their son's death," said Burris.

All of this comes as OPD is under federal scrutiny for ignoring court ordered reforms issued after the Riders police abuse settlement 10 years ago.

Report critical of OPD officer-involved shootings

A court-appointed monitor is accusing Oakland police of sometimes shooting at suspects without justification.

The monitor, Robert Warshaw, released that 17-page report yesterday. It also said that the department's in-house investigations are often biased toward concluding that officer-involved shootings are justified.

He mentioned one shooting in May of last year when police killed two men. Alameda County prosecutors eventually cleared the officers. The Oakland Police Officer's Association is blasting the report. The police force is facing a possible federal takeover.

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