Letters to the Editor
Before opining, letter writer Don Curtis (“Not the Alameda I know and love,” June 18) should realize that it is necessary to have all the information. There is more than one video of the May 23 incident. He should have watched all available videos.
If anyone, White or Black, old or young would’ve been in the street dancing and decided to disrespect and dismiss a police officer, they would have also been treated and cited in the same manner the gentleman was cited for — resisting arrest.
The No. 1 Alameda public concern prior to COVID-19 was automobile-pedestrian fatalities! Four people killed in the first three months of 2020. Then comes late May. Mali Watkins dancing in one of the most-traveled streets across Alameda is not a concern?
If he’d been left alone by the Alameda Police Department (APD), hit by a car, then what? Blame APD? A repeat essentially of the allegedly suicidal man walking out into San Francisco Bay on Memorial Day 2011? Some have brought up that history and blamed APD.
Answering Don Curtis’ letter (“Not the Alameda I know and love," June 18): Watkins did not cooperate, APD was polite and calm. Racism is you opinion. Raymond Zack was white, he died of hypothermia.
Seems to me some may have a short attention problem.
I watched to footage of the incident with Mali Watkins and I saw something different from Andrea Brambila (“Open Letter to City Manager,” June 11).
Dancing in the street is not a normal activity, quarantine or not. Watkins did not say that he was walking in the street to avoid someone on the sidewalk. He admitted he was dancing in the street. When the officers approached Watkins, I observed someone who was in distress. He appeared under the influence of something or having a mental health issue. This was confirmed by subsequent events.
Things were going well with the officer developing a rapport, talking calmly, trying to ascertain the situation. Until the officer asked Watkins if he was thinking of hurting himself. At this point Watkins changes his tune and dismisses the officers, a clear indication that the officer’s question has struck a nerve. Now the officer has an obligation to follow up, even to the extent of bringing Watkins in for observation. Imagine the ruckus if the officers had left and Watkins had hurt himself or worse, someone else.
Once the officer told Watkins that he was being taken into custody, Watkins telling the officer to stop and resisting the officers will not work. It further reinforces the idea that Watkins needed outside help. The officers put their hands on Watkins to restrain him and to search for weapons.
I do not think that the actions of these officers went beyond what was required to protect Watkins and Society.