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Jim Chanin Speaks on Federal Receivership for the Oakland Police Department: audio, PDF & photos
After years of failure on the part of the Oakland police department to satisfy the requirements of the 2003 Negotiated Settlement Agreement, which came into being after numerous corrupt and illegal actions were exposed through the Riders Case, East Bay attorneys Jim Chanin and John Burris filed a motion this month on October 4th for appointment of a federal receiver to enforce compliance with the NSA (PDF below). On October 11th at the Humanist Hall in Oakland, Jim Chanin spoke about what the motion potentially means for the Oakland police department. Contrary to a common misunderstanding of federal receivership for OPD, Jim Chanin explained that the new federal oversight would be not be a full takeover of the department, but rather would be limited to assuring that the stipulations of the NSA are satisfied in a timely manner once and for all. Jim Chanin emphasized that he himself as a civil rights lawyer, even with a win for federal receivership, is not enough to fix all that is wrong with OPD. A strong people's movement in Oakland will be required to more fully right the historically abusive and problematic department (full audio below).
[Pictured above: Jim Chanin listens to a question from an audience member.]
The event was organized by Copwatch to inform the community and begin a discussion about possible responses to what would be a historical development for a police department which has rarely if ever been held accountable by outside forces. Andrea Prichett opened the evening and introduced the speakers.
Sanyika Bryant of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement spoke about local police accountability work with which he has been involved of late, from the People’s Self Defense Campaign, which operates much like Copwatch, to the most recent People's Tribunal to the July 2012 report by the MXGM which found that every 36 hours an African American is killed by a police officer, security guard, or vigilante in the United States.
Jim Chanin spoke for about thirty-five minutes and then generously took questions from the audience for another twenty minutes. Following the talk and Q&A, attendees rearranged their chairs into a circle to discuss amongst themselves possible community responses to federal receivership for OPD.
The motion for receivership is set to be heard by Judge Thelton Henderson in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on December 13th. Jim Chanin refused to predict how he believes Judge Henderson will rule on the motion, but it should be noted that in 2005 Henderson ruled that the substandard medical care in the California prison system violated prisoners' rights and he later appointed a federal receiver to take over the health care system of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
This is posted with a wish for a full recovery for Jim Chanin. While jogging on October 14th, he was struck by a car and transported to the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital. He is still hospitalized but is successfully recovering from the accident.
Federal Control of OPD: Forging a Community Response announcement
Jim Chanin begins to speak at 9:30 into the audio. Q&A begins at 43:30. The community discussion group at the end of the evening was not recorded.
File redacted, as per court order.