Letter to OPD Compliance Director Thomas Frazier

Dear Mr. Frazier, 

The Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition[i] was created after the death of 18-year-old Alan Blueford at the hands of Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6th, 2012. Eight months after Alan’s death, investigation reports have not yet been completed, Officer Miguel Masso remains on paid leave, and justice has not been served. We seek redress for these wrongs.

The Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition has made specific demands[ii] of Oakland and its Police Department regarding Alan’s death, two of which are directly in your purview.

Specifically, the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition demands that

  • Officer Miguel Masso be fired from the Oakland Police force.
  • The de facto ‘Stop & Frisk’ policies of the Oakland Police which ultimately resulted in Alan Blueford’s death be terminated immediately.

We note that the refusal of the Oakland Police Department to even consider these demands is evidence that they have no commitment to enforcing their own policies and are uninterested in fulfilling their obligation to protect the safety and civil liberties of those they interact with. Therefore we believe you need take action on these demands, and we request a face-to-face meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss these issues and other concerns we have about the Oakland Police.

Officer Masso must be fired because factual evidence exists that:

  • he participated in an illegal ‘Stop & Frisk,’ precipitating Alan’s death
  • he did not activate his lapel camera as required by OPD protocols[iii]
  • he executed Alan Blueford, firing three shots at someone who was unarmed
  • he lied after the fact about the events of May 5th & May 6
  • he should never have been hired in the first place because of his NYPD record[iv]
  • he refused a prisoner medical treatment, as documented by NYPD Internal Affairs[v]
  • he is not psychologically fit to be a police officer, as evidenced by his own statements in the District Attorney’s report[vi].

The Compliance Director must be the one to fire Miguel Masso because:

  • the investigation into Alan’s death has been a farce[vii]
  • OPD, in light of their record, cannot be trusted to investigate one of their own
  • the Oakland Police have rarely fired one of their own

The Compliance Director has the authority to fire Miguel Masso under the remit authored by Judge Henderson:

In addition to the reasons listed above, the Order authored by Judge Henderson provides the grounds and the authority for firing Miguel Masso. Specifically, the Order grants the Compliance Director authority to deal with racial profiling, illegal stops, problems with use of force, and personnel, as follows:

“The Compliance Director will have the authority to direct specific actions by the City or OPD to attain or improve compliance levels, or remedy compliance errors… (2) personnel decisions, including but not limited to promotions; engagement of consultants; assignments; findings and disciplinary actions in misconduct cases and use-of-force reviews;”

This language by necessity directs that the Compliance Director act to intervene where the OPD has, through its actions or omissions, failed to be in compliance with the professional standards set forth in the Complaint that led to Judge Henderson’s Order.

The Compliance Director must stop OPD’s racially motivated de facto ‘Stop & Frisk’ policies.

  • Alan Blueford is dead because of racial profiling. The D.A.’s report and the officer’s statements therein are full of the racially biased codewords officers use (e.g. “baggy pants,” “waist band,” “hoodie”) to create “reasonable suspicion” for the stop of Alan and his friends.
  • Unless these policies are ended, racial profiling will continue in defiance of the negotiated settlement agreement and Judge Henderson’s order. New York City’s experience shows that simply recording racial data about stops is not sufficient to change police behavior. (Cf. Daniels v City of New York[viii])
  • Unless these practices are forbidden and violations sufficiently punished, police will continue to use any and every excuse to stop young men or color and terrorize them.
  • Unless these policies are ended, more deaths like those of Gary King[ix] and Alan Blueford will inevitably happen.
  • Unless these policies are ended, there will never be any possibility of community cooperation with police.

The Compliance Director must be the one to promulgate and implement policies which put an end to OPD’s de facto ‘Stop & Frisk’ protocols.

  • OPD has shown that it is incapable of following its own best procedures and practices, let alone implementing additional ones.
  • OPD has gone out of its way to hire as a consultant someone who believes that ‘Stop & Frisk’ is an effective policy tool, in direct opposition to Judge Henderson’s order and the Negotiated Settlement Agreement.

The Compliance Director has the authority to implement policies that put an end to de facto ‘Stop & Frisk’

The Compliance Director has the power and the responsibility to promulgate procedures that will stop racial profiling, thereby effectively halting OPD’s de facto Stop & Frisk policies, employed almost exclusively against young men of color. In particular, again quoting from Judge Henderson’s order

“The Compliance Director may, at his or her sole discretion, develop a corrective action plan for any task for which the Monitor finds Defendants to be out of compliance.”

“Within 60 days of his or her appointment, the Compliance Director will file a list of benchmarks for the OPD to address, resolve, and reduce… (2) incidents of racial profiling and bias-based policing;”.

We urge the Compliance Director to examine New York City’s proposed Community Safety Act[x] for ideas on how to create a constitutional environment for policing that will stop racial profiling and de facto ‘Stop & Frisk’ actions on the streets of Oakland. We encourage you to review Floyd v City of New York[xi], the ongoing lawsuit to curtail ‘Stop & Frisk’ in New York City, and to take note of the recent Federal District Court order instructing NYPD to cease and desist its ‘Stop & Frisk’ policies in and around private apartment complexes[xii].

Thank you for your time. We looking forward to meeting with you to further discuss how the civil rights of Oakland’s citizens can be protected and how Justice 4 Alan Blueford might be obtained. To contact us please call (510) 839-1200 and ask for Anne Weills or Dan Siegel.

The Justice for Alan Blueford (JAB) Coalition.

[iii] http://informant.kalwnews.org/2011/03/lapel-cameras-are-now-part-of-oakland-polices-uniform/

“Officers are required to turn their cameras on when they conduct a traffic or walking stop of a person”

[iv] Raphael Santiago v City of New York, Van Horn, Reveron and Masso, US District Court, Southern District of NY

[v] NYPD Internal Affairs Group #22, Investigating Officer’s Report, Case 07-0612, Bronx Case 07-050

“Mr. Santiago… asked one of the involved officers for medical treatment which was refused. A review of the Roll Call, pedigree information of the involved officers and the CCRB investigation led to the identification of PO Miguel Masso… as the officer who refused his request.”

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