I know that I tend to be not a big fan of the institution of Police. All too often they (and here I usually mean the administrations) are a bullying lot striving to be unaccountable. Interestingly, every personal interaction I have had with officers has been positive (heck, an Alameda officer helped me break into my brother's house so I could feed their cats.) Still, the Oscar Grant story is the image that remains, or the Ryan Moats story or Amadou Diallo or the many clever things the NYPD can do with broomsticks. And that doesn't even begin to talk about the many cases of non-brutality good old fashioned corruption.
Oakland, post Oscar Grant, has been an interesting place. There is definitely racial tension, and a lot of anger against the authorities. I was on a bus the day after four Oakland Police were shot & killed by a criminal with an assault rifle and heard people talking about how it was revenge for Oscar Grant, or other stupidity. The simmering anger that lead to tear gas and riots in January remains under the surface.
And yet, in all this venom, a simple story of hope and beauty emerging from tragedy is what I care to remember. Officer John Hege, the last of the four officers to die, was an organ donor and his organs have already been used to give four men a new lease on life. He had reaffirmed his desire to be an organ donor last year. Sadly, he was the only one of the four officers that was an organ donor, who knows how much more life could have sprung from this tragedy.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
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