Op-Ed: D.A. Gascón: Yes, I’m ‘with the Blacks’
In the aftermath of the tragic New York Times op-ed (“Latinos at Work,” July 13, 2016), written by D.A. Gascón and published on The New York Times Opinion blog (“A Letter,” July 13, 2016) to mourn the deaths of police officers in Dallas, we have been asked to think about police violence on this particular day in light of the tragic events in Dallas. But, as the op-ed reveals, these issues have been at the center of Gascón’s life for decades. In fact, he has been fighting against police violence – and often in the places he was being attacked by cops – for decades. So, what exactly is Gascón’s connection to the issue of police violence and racism?
To begin with, here is what he was doing to end police violence and racial profiling decades ago:
“A few years ago, I began the most important of my professional lives: serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Oakland, California. In the early 1980s, Oakland’s police department was under scrutiny for brutality and corruption. One evening, my son, who was only eight years old, found a young African-American man on the front steps of our house. The man said he had been beaten by an Oakland police officer. Within days, the same officer was arrested on charges of assaulting an African-American. We were outraged by this treatment of an innocent African-American man. We demanded that the mayor publicly denounce the officer, stop him from being re-assigned to the frontlines, and use the powers of his office to get the officer’s charges dismissed. To our surprise, Mayor Jerry Brown did the right thing. “My son and I were shocked, too, when we learned that the officer, whose name was Herman Wood, was being transferred back to the beat in his mid-20s after he had been suspended for six years for violating the department’s code of conduct by taking