Alan Blueford FAQ

Q. Who was Alan Blueford?
A. Alan was a just-turned 18 year old high school student attending
Skyline High School in Oakland, CA. His parents are Adam and Jeralyn
Blueford.

Q. When and where was Alan Blueford killed?
A. Alan was killed at approximately 12:05 AM on May 6th, 2012, in the
driveway of 9230 Birch St, Oakland, CA.

Q. Who killed him, and how?
A. Oakland Policeman Miguel Masso fired three bullets at Alan, one
striking his shoulder, one his right chest, and one close to the heart.

Q. What happened?
A. Officer Masso and his partner stopped Alan and two friends as they
were walking on 90th St. After being stopped, for reasons unknown,
Alan decided to run. Officer Masso decided to chase him. The chase
went on for approximately four blocks until Allan and Officer Masso
arrived at 9230 Birch. At this point accounts diverge. Either Alan was
shot once, stumbled into driveway, and was shot twice more while lying
on his back, or he stumbled into a gate, fell into the driveway and
was then shot three times while lying on his back.

Q. What were Alan’s last words?
A. According to multiple witnesses Alan said “I didn’t do anything!”

Q. Did Alan have a gun?
A. There is no conclusive evidence one way or another. A gun was
found long after Alan was killed, 20 feet away from Alan’s body up an
inclined driveway. Despite multiple witnesses present, none reported
seeing a gun move from where Alan lay to the location where the gun
was found.

Q. Did witnesses say that Alan had a gun?
A. Most did not say anything one way or the other in their signed statements. Some of the witnesses are immigrants who may be concerned about their own safety. It was dark, things happened quickly, and multiple shots were fired by the policeman, leading understandably to confusion. We do know that Officer Masso said to his partner after-the-fact “I swear he had a gun!”  An odd turn of
phrase if Masso was sure Alan had a gun.

Q. Why did Officer Miguel Masso kill Alan Blueford? (Did he have
a good reason to shoot him?)
A. We don’t know exactly why Masso shot Alan. We probably never will.
What we do know is that Officer Masso helped torture a defenseless
prisoner in a NY City jail cell, and then refused to call for medical
attention (this is documented by the NY Police Department).
What we do know is that Officer Masso served as an MP in Iraq.
What we do know is that Officer Masso claimed in his report that he
freaked out, perhaps a minute before he shot Alan, and was unable to
hear or think clearly.

What we do know is that Masso did not have his lapel camera on, in
violation of OPD policy. What was he trying to hide? If we had that
video, many of the questions surrounding the shooting would likely
have been cleared up by now.

What we do know is that 11 of 12 witnesses said that Alan was on the
ground before Masso fired, in sharp contrast to Masso’s statement.
What we do know is that Alan was killed by Masso as the result of a
racist stop and frisk practice built around a discourse labeling all
black and brown young men as dangerous, particularly at night. Many
police departments believe they have a license to kill these young men
whether or not there is an objective reason to believe they are
dangerous.

What we do know is that police are killing unarmed citizens who pose
no immediate threat at an alarming and increasing rate. Over and over
police reports state that an officer “thought he had a weapon” or the
victim was “reaching for his waistband”, only to find out that the
dead victim was shot, sometimes in the back, unarmed.

Q. Is it true Officer Masso shot himself?
A. Yes. Officer Masso fired four shots. One of them ended up going
into his foot.

Q. What did the Coroner’s report have to say about Alan?
A. The Coroner’s report said there was no gun residue on Alan’s
hands, meaning that he never fired a weapon. Nor did he have any
alcohol or drugs in his body.

Q. Was there some issue with the Coroner’s report?
A. Yes. For reasons which are unclear, the Oakland Police demanded
that the Alameda Coroner not release the report. That demand was
honored until the family and supporters created a stink in the press,
held a protest outside the Coroner’s office, and then the family paid
more than $300 in ‘blood money’ as a fee to the Coroner before the
report was released in mid-July.

Q. When did the Blueford family first go to the City Council?
A. In mid-May, a few weeks after Alan’s death.

Q. What happened?
A. Council members, especially President Larry Reid, promised their
help in finding out what had happened to Alan.

Q. Did they get that promised help?
A. No.

Q. What is the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition (JAB)?
A. A group of people who came together to help the Blueford family
obtain the truth. They come from all walks of life and belong to
various existing organizations. It seeks to find justice for Alan and
to try to ensure that no further such murders are allowed to happen.

Q. What has JAB done?
A. JAB has organized two BBQ’s for community awareness, held multiple
press conferences, held a rally in downtown Oakland, gone en-masse
twice to City Council meetings, analyzed the District Attorney’s
report entitled “Investigation of the Shooting Death of Alan
Blueford.” and reached out to community organizations, churches and
labor unions seeking support against police violence.

Q. Did JAB shut down a City Council meeting?
A. Yes. In mid-September, after months of non-action by the Council
and the City, the Blueford family and JAB stood in front of the City
Council demanding justice and specifically demanding the police report
on Alan’s death, not yet released.
Larry Reid told the Bluefords and the assembled citizenry that
Police Chief Jordan was on his way with the report, then called a ten
minute break. After ten minutes had turned into forty with no police
report and no Police Chief, Reid decided to restart the meeting,
taking up a resolution to declare Oakland “A City of Peace.”
With cries of “No Justice. No Peace!” JAB and allies drowned out the
Council and the meeting was adjourned. No police report was delivered
to the Bluefords that day or in the subsequent thirteen days, nor did
anyone from the City contact them.

Q. What happened next?
A. Two weeks later, the Blueford’s again appeared before the City
Council seeking justice. Many members of the public were shut out of
the meeting, despite seats being available and despite California’s
open meeting law which precludes such decrees. After the Blueford’s –
and allies who had managed to get in before the City Council blockaded
the doors — had spoken for about an hour, Larry Reid, in a grandstand
play, handed the Bluefords a redacted police report that he had with
him the entire time.

Q. The City Council met JAB’s demands?
A. No! Crucial information was blacked out from the report, and
obtaining the police report is only one of JAB’s demands to the City.
Officer Masso is still employed by the City of Oakland while on paid
leave, and the Oakland Police continue their de facto ‘Stop & Frisk’
actions against young men of color on the streets of Oakland.

Q. What has taken place since the redacted police report was released?
A. About a week later, the Alameda County District Attorney released
a document titled “INVESTIGATION OF THE SHOOTING DEATH OF ALAN BLUEFORD”.

Q. What were it’s conclusions?
A. “The evidence does not justify criminal charges against Oakland
Police Officer Masso.”

Q. Do the Bluefords and JAB accept this conclusion?
A. No! As detailed in our response to the DA’s report, that document
was shoddily put together and unprofessional. It did not consider the
evidence, nor did it attempt to resolve the contradictions between
Officer Masso’s account and the testimony of witnesses. The paradox of
the gun’s location was not considered and the fact that the gun was
tampered with — disassembled on location — was not even mentioned.
We don’t know everything that happened that night, but the DA’s
“investigation” was a whitewash. See JAB’s website
http://justice4alanblueford.org
/2012/10/17/j4ab-response-to-the-das-investigation/
for the full text of our response.

Q. Why is all this attention being paid to Alan Blueford? What about
all the other innocent people that have been murdered by the police?
Why aren’t they being given the same attention?
A. The Blueford family knows that they cannot get Alan back. They have
courageously committed to a long, painful battle against the Oakland
Police Department, the City of Oakland, and the criminal justice
system in the hope of getting justice for their son, and to push as
much as is humanly possible so that this sort of thing does not happen
again.
It’s rare that a family is able to come forward as the Blueford’s
have done and bring the murder of a family member by the police to
this level of public awareness. The emotional stress can be
overwhelming.
Let us build on what has gone before, e.g., the movements around
justice for Oscar Grant, Treyvon Martin and Ramarley Graham (shot and
killed by NYPD in his own bedroom, unarmed). JAB’s goal is to support
the Blueford family in their quest not only to obtain justice for the
murder of their son by prosecuting Miguel Masso, but also by building
a national movement that will include all the families and victims of
police violence and change the fundamental relationship of the police
with the community to prevent future murders from happening.

Q. What about Black-on-Black violence? Why isn’t JAB protesting that?
A.  Like all violence within our communities, Black-on-Black violence
stems from a host of social and political issues outside the scope of
our coalition for Justice for Alan Blueford. More importantly, the
police murder of Alan Blueford, like the increasing police violence
against our Black and Brown youth locally and across the country has
absolutely nothing to do with Black-on-Black violence. In fact, police
violence can be addressed through the specific demands of our
coalition, by the indictment of Officer Masso for the murder of Alan
Blueford, the end of de facto stop and frisk policies, and the
withdrawal of the so-called Officers Bill of Rights – their license to
kill without repercussion.

Q. What’s next for the Blueford family and JAB? (As of 10/10/12)
A. The Bluefords have been on the East Coast, speaking with New York
and Philadephia activists against police violence and both cities’ Stop
& Frisk laws.
On Dec. 18th, JAB we’ll be holding a forum with Angela Davis at Laney
College. Stay tuned for other events and actions.
Check our website for the time and place of Coalition meetings:
http://justice4alanblueford.org/

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