Addressing Police Brutality

The United States has the highest number of police killings in the world—compared with any other industrialized country. In 2020, more than 1,000 people were killed by police. Of those killed, nearly 40 were unarmed.

To make matters worse, Black people make up about 40 percent of those killed by police officers despite being only 13% of the population.

It doesn’t help that the justice system in the U.S. is rarely fair when a police officer shoots an unarmed Black man. When Oscar was murdered, the community interpreted his death as an act of police brutality and the use of excessive force. We now know that, because of implicit bias—which makes many police officers more afraid of a Black person than a white person—Oscar was a victim of racial profiling, and the officers who confronted him suspected that he was a violent criminal.

This trend must stop. Young Black men shouldn’t be dying just for being Black.

Our Solution

  • California already requires all law enforcement agencies to do some form of implicit bias training with their officers, but we think that training is not enough. Through our Law Enforcement Equity Training program, we aim to work with police departments so that more officers are equipped with skills that can help them defuse conflicts, identify mental illness and understand nonverbal communication. Despite what happened to Oscar, we believe the police are necessary. But we want to see better outcomes when they’re dealing with people of color from our community.
  • We also see transparency as a big issue when it comes to policing in America. Oscar’s case, as well as the other trials that have followed involving police officers killing unarmed Black men, have given us a glimpse inside the system. Police officers enjoy legal protections that make it hard to challenge bad police behavior. So we will continue to do our part to make sure all police departments are held accountable for their actions so that more trust can be built between law enforcement and our communities.
  • We were instrumental in the creation of the BART Police Citizen Review Board, which was formed in 2009 after the shooting of Oscar. Among their responsibilities, members of the board review citizen allegations of on-duty police misconduct, and recommend and monitor changes to police policies. Dozens of recommendations from the review board have been approved by the BART board since then, including allowing independent police auditors to investigate any kind of misconduct allegations.

Help us address police brutality in the East Bay

Help us address police brutality in the East Bay