Originally published at Workers.org
by Terri Kay
Oakland, Calif. — The Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition (J4AB) held a press conference Oct. 16 in front of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s office in response to her announcement that police officer Miguel Masso would not be charged for the killing of Alan Blueford. The African-American youth was killed by Masso, a member of the Oakland Police Department, on May 6.
At the press conference O’Malley’s report was slammed as “biased and deficient.” A release issued by the J4AB stated, “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.” John Burris, a civil rights attorney, referred to the federal monitors who supervise reforms the OPD was ordered to make by a federal judge in a case won against the OPD in 2000, in which Burris was lead counsel. He said the monitors found that there was “a predisposition to find support for the [OPD] officers’ conduct, often sanctioned by the DA.”
Burris said, “The issue of whether Alan had a gun was not raised, and the DA never considered whether he had a gun when he was shot and killed.” Burris said the picture of the purported gun “taken in a bed of rocks … clearly was never found there. This was a staged situation. How did it get there? Who moved it? When did that take place?” Burris pointed out that Masso is quoted as saying, “I swear I saw a gun” — but Burris said that is “not the kind of statement one would make if [they really] saw the gun!” He said there was “No consideration given [that] maybe it didn’t happen the way the officer said it did.”
Burris discussed how it was “Racial profiling which served as the basis for the stop” of Blueford in the first place, and said, “[We] will continue to move forward on our civil rights case.”
Blueford’s parents: ‘Justice for Alan!’
Responding to Burris’ statement about racial profiling, Adam Blueford opened his remarks by stating, “I am the proud father of Alan Blueford.” He described how his son was just walking with his two friends, but “The DA report tries to make this out as a drug transaction.” The coroner’s report found that there was no gunpowder residue on Alan Blueford’s hands and no drugs or alcohol in his blood.
Jeralynn Blueford, Alan’s mother, said, “My son’s last words were ‘I didn’t do anything’” (as quoted by witnesses in the police report). This clearly is not the threatening stance reported by Officer Masso, for which he claimed he was in fear for his life. She went on to state: “There are too many deaths in California. Stop the killing. We will not stop until we get justice for Alan.”
Walter Riley, also a civil rights attorney, stated: “There is something wrong with the criminal justice system. The DA has given us a shoddy report that looks like boiler plate language. … [It] fails to recognize forensic evidence presented in the coroner’s report, account for the vast majority of witnesses who say Alan was on the ground [when he was shot], and support the argument that Alan didn’t have a gun when he was shot.”
DA’s report is ‘biased, shoddy’
The J4AB Coalition has put together a report which reviews the DA’s report, calling it “biased and unprofessional, its workmanship so shoddy that it fails to meet the most basic standards of an investigative report.” Concluding “Alan Blueford Should Never Have Been Stopped,” the J4AB report states: “In fact the police reverse cause and effect, which gives them the excuse they are looking for to stop, question and frisk. Young black men do not generally look nervously at police because they are doing something suspicious, they look nervously at police because police are likely to stop them or worse. Police then claim that ‘being nervous’ is a sufficient reason to stop them. Had there been no racial profiling of Alan and his companions, Alan would not have been stopped, and Alan would still be alive today.”
“We reiterate our demands that Officer Masso be fired and prosecuted for the murder of Alan Blueford, and that the OPD cease its de facto practices of racial profiling and stop and frisk,” says J4AB. They are calling for a Bay Area Families March to End Racial Profiling on Nov. 10, starting at noon at 14th and Broadway in Oakland. J4AB is “bringing together families of victims of police intimidation, brutality and murder as a call to end the racial profiling which criminalizes Black and Brown men.”
To read the J4AB report and for more information, go to justice4alanblueford.org.