Today a group of activists affiliated with Oakland’s PUEBLO and the Ella Baker Center tried to meet with Oakland Police Department NSA Compliance Director Tom Frazier. Angered by his decision to veto the hard fought goal of assigning police complaint intake workers out of OPD’s Internal Affairs Department to the Civilian Police Review Board, they showed up at his office.

They called it a surprise party and were prepared to gift him with a shiny new copy of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to signify his apparent negative attitude toward community activism in changing how the police department is run. However, instead of the Compliance Director being in his unmarked office at 1970 Broadway, they found police officers who had been called to “keep the peace.” The officers would not say who ordered them there or what the threat was. The group consisted of about three elderly people, two middle-aged folks, one with a toddler in tow, and four young adults from various organizations.

Rashidah Grinage of PUEBLO noted that the officers had pulled up in a red zone in front of a fire hydrant outside of 1970 Broadway. She pointed to Frazier’s unmarked office and the fact that he has so far refused to meet with them and said, “He is acting like more like a fugitive than a police commissioner!”

The watchdog groups intend to keep up the pressure on Frazier in the long tradition of progressive community action in Oakland. They say that he is attempting to thwart the will of the community and the democratic process while becoming an obstacle to more positive police-community relations by taking over areas not governed by the NSA which were decided in a community-driven process which pre-dated his appointment.

Pamela A Drake

By Rashidah Grinage

Rashidah is the Executive Director of PUEBLO (People United for a Better Life in Oakland)