Mali Watkins

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.

Inquiry set to investigate arrest of dancing resident

The City of Alameda has hired attorney Alfonso Estrada to conduct an independent investigation of the May 23 arrest of Mali Watkins for allegedly resisting, delaying or obstructing police officers. Witnesses report that Watkins was dancing and exercising in front of his own house when police arrived and arrested him. Watkins was cited and released by officers.

The recent murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have gained global attention and brought the issue of racist policing back to the forefront. The arrest of and use of force against Alameda resident Mali Watkins is not the first time Black people and other people of color have been profiled or by the Alameda Police Department (APD).