The killing of George Floyd and other Black people by police has caused cities across this country, including Alameda, to ask what public safety should look like in 2020 and beyond. Alameda is also examining why a Black man who was dancing in the street was arrested, and how to assure this kind of arrest never happens again.
Last week, thousands of people unified in protests across the world calling for change in police departments across the United States after George Floyd, a Black man, was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a White police officer, in Minneapolis on May 25. Witnesses recorded Chauvin kneeling directly on Floyd’s neck during his arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill.
About 7:45 a.m., on Saturday, May 23, an anonymous caller to the Alameda Police Department (APD) non-emergency number reported a man walking and “dancing” in the street in the 2000 block of Central Avenue. The caller indicated the subject may be mentally ill or under the influence.
Island not immune from impacts of George Floyd’s death
The ramifications of George Floyd’s death last week in Minneapolis have been felt throughout the country including here in Alameda.
Floyd, 46, died on May 25, after Minneapolis police officer Derek Michael Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes while trying to arrest him, according to video surveillance. An independent medical examination by renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden ruled Floyd’s death was caused by asphyxia, when the body is deprived of oxygen.
At 11:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 17, an alleged drunk driver was attempting to turn from Santa Clara Avenue onto High Street. He took the turn too widely and crashed into the fence that borders Lincoln Park. He fled from the vehicle, but witnesses pursued him through the park. They called 911 and Alameda Police Department officers arrived and placed the driver under arrest.
Alameda Police Department’s (APD) Crime Prevention Technician Michaelia Parker, left, spoke with local businessman Tom Bierly during last Tuesday morning’s Coffee with a Cop at the West End Starbucks. Parker staffs APD’s crime-prevention unit, C.O.P.P.S., which stands for Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving. The coffee klatsch offered residents the opportunity to speak with police officers, ask them questions and voice their concerns about crime in the city.
Two major arrests were made last week that have connections to Alameda.
SWAT teams from several East Bay police departments, including the Alameda Police Department (APD), arrested four armed-robbery suspects on Wednesday, June 6, in relation to recent armed robberies at cellphone stores.
The Berkeley Police Department (BPD), along with the Oakland, Hayward, Brentwood and Pittsburg police departments were also involved in the multi-city operation.