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Alameda Fire and Crime Seen

We created this page in response to requests for a reader-contributed crime/fire watch section on the site. Readers can leave comments anonymously at the bottom of the page with updates of police or fire services activity in their neighborhood.

Emergencies
Dial 9-1-1 on your phone.
Or direct dial 510-337-8340 on your cell phone.
For fires also call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802

Alameda Police Department
www.ci.alameda.ca.us
1555 Oak Street
Alameda, CA 94501-2931
(510)-337-8340

Alameda Fire Department
www.ci.alameda.ca.us/fire/
1300 Park Street
Alameda, CA 94501
(510)-337-2100

Alameda Police Dispatch Radio

Recording Public Safety Activity
The proliferation of cell phone cameras has sparked a number of cases in California and across the country pertaining to the public’s rights to record public safety officials in the act of doing their job. The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on a case in Baltimore, with a letter to the Baltimore City Police Department and a Statement of Interest in a related civil rights lawsuit against BCPD.

Letter to BCPD
Statement of Interest

Statement of Interest, Garcia v. Montgomery County

Ninth Circuit (covers California) ruling on recording public safety officals in public.

Federal statutes making it a crime to deprive someone of constitutional rights

5 comments to Alameda Fire and Crime Seen

  • Bernard F. Clark

    As I drove up to Spritzers cafe on Central the other day, I noticed a police car near Kragen autoparts. As I got out the car, a black man pushed his bike across Central, using the crosswalk. He had a big bag of cans to recycle. I saw the police car pull away from the kerb and cruise down toward the crosswalk. I just knew that the black guy was going to get stopped. Sure enough, the police car moved off rapidly down to the light at 8th and Central, making a left to swing around the block, to confront the black guy. So I decided to be there when the cop arrived… just to make sure we had fair play. There was another black man waiting for his friend on the other side of the crosswalk. His bike was having brake problems, so I offered to help. The guys were grateful for my offer. I hesitated to say that a cop would be coming by soon – because I could have been wrong. But I wasn’t. While I was trying to loosen the brake cable, the cop arrived. I think he was surprised to see me there. As he came over, I asked if anything was wrong? Why was he stopping? He said he just wanted to talk to the guys. I explained they had bike problems. The cop was, to be fair, very polite. I said that I hoped there wasn’t going to be any trouble and he reiterated that he just wanted to ask these guys a few questions. Not me. Them. I asked the black guys if they were ok with that and they said it was cool…. so I made my way back across Central to the cafe, where two other patrons had noticed what was going on and, like me, were concerned that these guys were being stopped for no apparent reason other than the color of their skin and their apparent ‘social standing’. Pretty soon, a second police car showed up. We decided to go outside and make sure that the event was being watched. We didn’t want to see a ‘mistaken tasering’ incident unfold. The second cop clearly did not take kindly to our presence, but was not rude, just curt. They took the names and details of the guys and ran a check on them. One of them had a BART violation outstanding and the first cop put him in his car and took him in. The second cop remained to ask further questions. Now, I think one might claim that this was all good policing. There was no violence. They were fairly polite. They found someone who had some sort of a misdemeanor and, arguably, enforced the law as necessary. My concern is that I knew they were going to stop these guys because they were black, not acting suspiciously, but because they were black and didn’t fit on the streets of Alameda with their old bikes and bags of cans for recycling. The evidence is very high that they were profiled. I respect that law enforcement is dangerous and sometimes it might be a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation. What I do know is that I am glad the black guys knew that fellow citizens were looking out for fair play and that the cops knew that we were also looking out for them in some way… making sure they weren’t wrongfully accused of rough tactics. I suppose the upshot is that I am saddened that these cat and mouse games even occur in our society and that the color of one’s skin is still quite likely to affect the chance of being ‘talked to’ by our law enforcement professionals. I later learned from one of the black guys’ friends that he thought the guy they took in owed $186 for the BART thing, and that he had a wife and two kids. I have thought about finding out more and paying the fine for him. How else will he ever get out from under the law? Certainly not by collecting recycled cans in Alameda. Another friend counselled me to stay out of it. “You don’t know what you could be getting into.” He gave me pause for thought. As yet, I have done nothing. Very sad.

  • Stealing recyclables from garbage cans at the curb is a citationable misdemeanor. People in Alameda have a different views about that ranging from “They’re poor, they need the money, let them have it.” to calling the police to report the theft. The police may have thought they had someone for stealing recyclables and may have been prompted to contact these guys based on what they were carrying.

    At the same time – and few people know of this – there is the concept of “consensual contact” – if the police “just want to talk,” a citizen has every right to say, “No thank you, I don’t want to talk right now.” or something to that affect and refuse consent to contact with the police. If they still want to “just talk…” after repeated refusals to consensual contact, they must either detain on suspicion of criminal activity, or arrest the subject. These guys apparently consented to contact whereas they might have tried refusing.

  • sheilla

    Its nice to know that there are other people out here that still care about others at all, much less their rights. The police do overstep these fine laws, taking into custody people that are not really even criminals but merely poor, or going through rough times with this economy, causing even more hardship on already struggling families, I often wonder how they sleep at night knowing that they help cause already struggling families such hardships? One would think having compassion would be a good requirement of a police officer before he or she would meet the requirements of being hired by our government to protect and serve our community??? Sir I wish there were more people that still cared about strangers in this world, if u can afford to help that man you should but it would be worth the time to check into the matter a little further first to try to make sure this person needs or would even appreciate the help from you. There is nothing more irritating to me then someone that bites the hand that is feeding them! Bless you kind and caring soul! The world would be a better place if there were more people like you!!!

  • Joe Buck

    Black guys Bernie? Really? Whos profiling here? He ws stopped for the same reason you stopped to watch! I guess APD could treat us all like the TSA does its passengers and stop your white mother/wife and ask her questions for no apparent reason. That way there would be no question that we are all treated fairly. Then when your white mother/wife does not respond appropriately to a question or command by an officer, they can taser her and we can all chalk it up to being fair.
    Ha may not have committed a crime just then, but who says he was not about to?

  • Thanks Bernard for not being a SHEEP or a WOLF but a Human Being!

    Compassion helps our civilization advance!

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