Category Archives: press

Labor supports Justice 4 Alan Blueford, November 10 march

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ILWU Local 10 and SEIU Local 1021, two of the largest labor unions in the Bay Area, have pledged their support for the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign and the November 10 march against racial profiling being organized with other Bay Area families victimized by police brutality.

ILWU Local 10 represents workers at the Port of Oakland. The union has a history of supporting progressive causes, including opposition to apartheid in South Africa, the war in Iraq and the killing of Oscar Grant. The Port of Oakland has been shuttered in support of all of these causes over the past few decades.

SEIU Local 1021 represents public employees throughout Northern California, including workers at Oakland City Hall and the Port of Oakland.

“SEIU members live, work, vote and pay taxes in Oakland. We expect the police department to be professional and accountable to the community,” said Gladys Gray, chair of the SEIU Social and Economic Justice Subcommittee. “Officer Masso and the Oakland Police Department failed miserably in Alan Blueford’s death. We call on the community to stand together to demand Justice for Alan Blueford.”

Alan Blueford was an 18-year-old Skyline HIgh School student who was killed by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6. His family and their supporters have fought Oakland City Hall and OPD to have Officer Masso fired and prosecuted. After several protests at City Hall, Chief Howard Jordan was forced to release the police report in Alan’s case. This report offered overwhelming evidence that Alan was lying on his back without a gun when he was shot and said “I didn’t do anything” as his last words.

The eventual release of the Alameda County District Attorney’s report–which announced that Masso would not be prosecuted in spite of the mounting evidence against him–also showed how Alan was a victim of racial profiling who should have never been stopped by the police in the first place.

The resolutions passed by these unions add to the growing list of supporters for this campaign who demand that Masso be brought to justice for his crime and that changes be instituted to assure that no such killing by an Oakland police officer happens again. Other supporters of the campaign include the Alameda County Green Party and the Dignity and Resistance coalition.

Members of these groups will join the Bluefords and other Bay Area families of police brutality victims in a march against racial profiling on Saturday, November 10, gathering for a rally at 12 noon at 14th and Broadway followed by a march through West Oakland.

SEIU 1021 endorses the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign on the November 10 march: http://justice4alanblueford.org/2012/11/05/seiu-1021-resolution-in-support-of-justice-4-alan-blueford/

ILWU Local 10 letter to Judge Thelton Henderson demanding Justice 4 Alan Blueford: http://justice4alanblueford.org/2012/10/25/ilwu-local-10-calls-for-justice-4-alan-blueford/

Dignity and Resistance resolution in support of the November 10 march: http://justice4alanblueford.org/2012/11/03/dignity-and-resistance-coalition-endorses-nov-10-march/

Press conference at the DA’s office

Press release on the DA’s investigation

October 16, 2012

For Immediate Release

Blueford Coalition Condemns DA Report: Biased, Deficient

The Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition strongly condemns the report issued last week by District Attorney Nancy O’Malley clearing Officer Miguel Masso of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of Alan Blueford last May.  The report reveals a high level of bias and a shamefully inadequate demonstration of investigative methodology.  The District Attorney’s failure to carefully review and challenge statements contained in the report of the Oakland Police Department go against the community’s need for answers in this tragic officer-involved shooting.  The delinquencies of the DA report are major and clearly demonstrate DA O’Malley’s unwillingness to carry out the sworn duties of her office.

The bias of the DA report is evident in its reliance solely upon witness and other statements supporting the notion that Officer Masso was justified in killing Alan Blueford.  One example of this bias is Officer Masso’s statement that he fired at Alan while Alan was standing, which is stated as fact in the DA’s report, yet 11 out of 12 witnesses who comment on where Alan was when Officer Masso took the first shot say that Officer Masso first fired when Alan was lying on the ground. This important discrepancy is not mentioned in the DA’s report.  Based on the numerous instances of such unbalanced review of the facts, one must conclude that the DA’s report is highly prejudicial.

District Attorney O’Malley’s failure to insist upon an analysis of the evidence leaves many important questions unanswered, including: Did the DA determine Masso’s account of his and Alan’s movements before Alan was shot to be logistically possible?  Why are the gun shell casings so dispersed, given Masso’s account of the shooting? How could the gun, which Officer Masso claimed was in Alan’s hand when he shot Alan, be found 20 feet away from Alan, behind his body and up an inclined driveway?  Were there scratch or skid marks on this gun, which had allegedly been in Alan’s hand, congruent with the direction in which the gun would have to have traveled to reach its destination? (No witness reports a gun moving from Alan’s hand to 20 feet away, up the driveway.) Perhaps most disturbing is the DA’s failure to investigate why Alan’s last words (as reported by several witnesses) were, “I didn’t do anything,” words which clearly indicate that Alan never presented an imminent threat to Officer Masso.

District Attorney O’Malley’s report on the shooting death of Alan Blueford is a travesty of justice.  For the record, the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition will present District Attorney O’Malley with a more formalized and detailed exposé of the problems contained in her report at our 4:30 PM press conference today at the DA’s office.  We reiterate our demands that Officer Masso be fired and prosecuted for the murder of Alan Blueford, and that the Oakland Police Department cease its de facto practices of racial profiling and stop & frisk.  As a community response to the widespread and intolerable practice of racial profiling which targeted Alan Blueford and his friends, the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition is organizing a Bay Area Families March Against Racial Profiling on Saturday, November 10th, beginning at noon at 14th & Broadway in downtown Oakland.  We’re bringing together families of victims of police intimidation, brutality and murder to call for an end to racial profiling and the consequent criminalization of black and brown men.

OPD continues to slander Alan Blueford in the press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2012

OPD CONTINUES TO SLANDER ALAN BLUEFORD IN THE PRESS

After promising the parents of Alan Blueford that they would not slander their son’s name in the press, the Oakland Police Department leaked the unsubstantiated claim that Alan’s fingerprints were on a gun found at the scene of his murder.

This leak from OPD comes after the department and the City of Oakland have refused–for months–to release the police report to the family. The Blueford family even attended the Oakland City Council meeting on September 18 to demand the report, which was briefly promised to them before OPD Chief Howard Jordan changed his mind.

Suddenly this allegation is released, with no way of substantiating it, seemingly as revenge against the Bluefords for demanding justice for their son. If this evidence were so clearly damning, they likely would have released it months earlier.

“First we want to know if it’s actually true,” said Dan Siegel, former legal advisor to Mayor Jean Quan and a supporter of the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign. “The police have already lied to the press, claiming that Alan shot at Masso, which we now know is not true. Now they leak this item to the press because they think it will help their case, but we still can’t see the police report.”

This latest action by the Oakland Police Department is yet another maneuver to avoid any accountability for the actions of Officer Miguel Masso, who should have never been hired in the first place. Masso faced brutality allegations during his previous tenure at the New York Police Department, a fact which did not stop OPD from hiring him.

It has never been explained why Masso shot himself in the foot with his own weapon, whether this was an accident that caused Masso to think he was shot or done on purpose to cover-up the shooting. Additionally, Masso had absolutely no reason to stop Alan the night of May 6 in the first place.

OPD Chief Howard Jordan claimed that Masso thought Blueford and his friends had a concealed weapon or drugs, an incredible claim as these two items look nothing alike. More likely, Masso saw a group of young African-American men on the streets of Oakland late at night and assumed they were criminals and treated them as such.

The allegation that Alan’s fingerprints were on the gun says nothing about the events leading up to his murder. Whether he pointed the gun at Masso, or Masso even saw him holding it at all, will remain unverified until all the evidence in the case is released–something OPD has steadfastly refused to do.

“We still want the police report. We still want Masso fired. We still want an end to stop-and-frisk practices in Oakland,” said Adam Blueford, Alan’s father. “This doesn’t change anything for us. This is just another broken promise from the police that they need to be held accountable for.”

The Bluefords and their supporters will be attending the October 2 meeting of the Oakland City Council to once again demand justice for their son.

For more info: http://www.justice4alanblueford.org

Press Release: Blueford family demands coroner’s report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2012

FAMILY AND SUPPORTERS GATHER TO DEMAND JUSTICE 4 ALAN BLUEFORD, INCLUDING RELEASE OF POLICE AND CORONER’S REPORTS

Family members of Alan Blueford, a 18-year-old Skyline High student who was shot and killed by Oakland police on May 6, gathered at the Alameda County Coroner’s Office to demand justice and accountability from the city.

Joined by members of clergy, SEIU 1021, ILWU, Occupy Oakland, Dignity & Resistance, International Socialist Organization and other residents who support their call for justice, they demanded the release of the Police and Coroner’s reports on Alan and the firing and prosecution of Miguel Masso, the police officer who killed him.

The family is also demanding that Police Chief Howard Jordan and other members of OPD be held accountable for the multiple lies they have spread both to the press and to the family directly related to the circumstances surrounding Alan’s death and the medical care he supposedly received.

“When they told me my son had exchanged gunfire, I knew it wasn’t Alan they were talking about,” said Adam Blueford, Alan’s father. “I’ve heard so many stories since then that I couldn’t believe and now I want the truth.”

The Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign is also seeking to change laws that enable police brutality in Oakland and elsewhere, including stop-and-frisk–which may not be a formal policy but is a regular tactic used by police nonetheless–and repealing the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights. They are also looking to expose the lack of accountable at all levels of the OPD.

“The Oakland Police Department is making an unprecedented effort to suppress information about Alan Blueford’s death,” said Dan Siegel, formal legal adviser to Mayor Jean Quan and a supporter of the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign. “We know they have a lot to hide, and it will eventually come to light.”

Upcoming actions in the campaign include a community BBQ at Arroyo Park in Oakland on Saturday, July 21, from 1pm – 4pm, as well as a rally at 14th and Broadway at 5pm on Tuesday, July 31.

For more info, see http://www.justice4alanblueford.org.

UPDATE: After the press conference, the coroner’s report was made available to the family. It revealed that Alan did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system and there was no gunshot residue found on either hand.