Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 27, 2021

Problem child

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

In light of the discussion about the Alameda Police Department momentarily diverting its twitter links to NextDoor rather than Facebook, here’s an inside look of how some APD officers engage with the public and how they are asking the public to advocate for them. I don’t know what magic words were used to get this document but Rasheed Shabazz posted an email from a police officer to an Alamedan that was…unusual given the topic covered.

Here’s the full screenshot:

It’s not clear that anything that was written by the Alameda citizen necessitated this particular opinion from the APD writer:

“[P]roblematic for the Alameda community” is a loaded bit of text that contains the worst of everything about Alameda. Before we even get into the who he is talking about the bit about the “Alameda community” is interesting and something we run into time and time again. There are gatekeepers in Alameda who like to define who is the Alameda community and who is not the Alameda community and typically the folks who are not part of the “Alameda community” are folks who look like Rasheed Shabazz.

People not part of the “Alameda community” are folks who get the cops called on them because they’re “not doing anything wrong, just scaring” someone’s wife.

People not part of the “Alameda community” are folks who get the cops called on them because they’re exercising in the middle of the street at the beginning of a pandemic and shelter in place because someone is worried.

People not part of the “Alameda community” are folks who were forced to pack up all their belongings from and relocated to internment camps because their ancestry made them suspect of their loyalty to the United States.

So yeah, “problematic for the Alameda community” is a loaded bit of horseshit that someone with that particular surname should be ashamed of wielding as a weapon against actual community members who have volunteered countless, thankless hours to making this city a better one for everyone in this Alameda community.

Buried in that email is also a bit about how this particular PD staff communicates directly to the group. Winding them up about a “surge in violence” but without placing that in its proper context.

I mean, I don’t even know if it’s possible for the new Chief of police to address this sort of blatant othering of Alamedans by rank and file into categories of “problematic” for the Alameda community and people who are part of the real Alameda community.

And, as the email went on to say the “best thing the community can do is hold our city leaders (and APD) accountable for their actions and closely follow what they (and APD) are doing within the community.” Got it.


  1. Reading this letter, it would no longer surprise me if I were to learn that APD officers (or their sycophants) are creating fake Nextdoor accounts to lift themselves up while talking down detractors. There were several very suspect accounts in summer of 2020 that were harassing councilmember JKW.

    Comment by Reality — May 27, 2021 @ 7:16 am

  2. One way the APD can address this problem is to hire more African American police officers. I don’t know if we have any, but this would be a good start.

    Next, I would establish a mandatory diversity training program, and have officers partner with someone that doesn’t look like them. Working with people that don’t look like us or think like us – is often the first time we get to experience other cultures.

    Diversity training challenges our belief systems, and it reveals our unconscious biases (and we all have them).

    We are all a product of our upbringing, our culture, our family, our neighborhood, our religious beliefs, our education; these all shape who and what we believe and become.

    Diversity training is a teaching mechanism that breaks through all of that, and shows us how to live and work together for the common good.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 27, 2021 @ 8:04 am

    • Evidence seems to indicate that type of training may shift minds, but behavior stays the same:

      Comment by Doug Keen — May 27, 2021 @ 9:26 am

      • Transformation takes time, but the training is a very important first step. You can’t change something you’re not aware of, and the training creates that awareness

        When I took the training several years ago – I was one of three African Americans in the organization. The organization was shaken by an event that led management to mandate diversity training for everyone in the company. The organization was in Alameda.

        The event: The first and only African American manager in the company was called the “N” word by one of his employees. Management didn’t like how the manager responded to being called the “N” word, but realized they had no experience in handling race issues in the workplace and reached out for help.

        Change didn’t happen overnight, but gradually I saw and felt change. The biggest and most consequential change was that management became more aware of the problem, and created written policies that prohibited these type of actions or behaviors the workplace.

        Comment by Karen Bey — May 27, 2021 @ 10:28 am

  3. It’s clear that we live in parallel universes. In my universe I value and respect Rasheed Shabazz’s dedication to scholarly research and the unearthing from newspapers and other historical documents — the parts of Alameda’s history that have been buried for far too long. While I may not always agree with all of his opinions, they never fail to make me think and I am better for it. I did volunteer for the police reform committee and I learned a great deal from listening to APD past and present senior staff over 5 forums -at least 12 hours, and engaging in research on how other cities/communities have struggled with the definition of public safety and discussing how that should look like in our community.

    Comment by Serena Chen — May 27, 2021 @ 12:46 pm

  4. Just an interesting bit of trivia that’s not widely known… Officer Leahy, who was involved in the Mario Gonzalez incident, is half black.

    Comment by The more you know — May 27, 2021 @ 7:51 pm

    • So which half helped kill Mario?

      Comment by Mulatto Mayhem — May 28, 2021 @ 8:25 am

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