1965 - Demonstration against police brutality and lack of black policemen in Oakland

 

On September 25, 1965 a protest was held in the immediate neighborhood of Oakland Police Chief Edward Toothman.   The crowd of several hundred black and white demonstrators picketed with signs, songs and chants.  The Chief appeared and talked to some of those present, and a contingent of motorcycle police made its presence known, without engaging the crowd.  

 

The purpose of the protest was to call attention to the hiring practices of the Police Department.   Two-third's of the city's population were people of color, and black people were arrested in much larger proportion than whites.  Among the demonstrators was a group of young black Oakland men organized by black community activist Mark Comfort.  The "Amboy Dukes" appeared with picket signs announcing "Oakland cops should live in Oakland," and "Burn, Baby, Burn."

The Oakland police department (OPD) has long been one of the most controversial urban law enforcement agencies in America, with a string of high-profile criminal and brutality allegations going back decades.  Partly in reaction to the brutal treatment of black Oaklanders by white police, the Black Panthers were formed in 1966, with the intention of "policing the police" and providing armed resistance when members of the community were attacked by police.

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Demonstration on the street win front of Oakland Chief of Police  Edward Toothman

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A young lady singing at the demonstration, "blissed out" by the support shown for black Oakland residents.

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Police Chief Toothman works at appearing to be in control.  Nice Try.E'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. Remind you of someone?

Teens demonstrate for cops that live in Oakland and look like the people in the community they serve.

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It wasn't just about jobs.  It was about the notorious brutality of white Oakland cops towards black people.  Is that little sign meant to make a punny joke?

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Some of the young Oakland men organized by Mark Comfort, community activist..

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Mark Comfort was a uniquely talented musician and organizer.  See his photo in the Youth For Jobs subtheme.

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Popula, genail Comedian Dick Gregory showed up to lend his support.

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Oakland motorcycle cops were called in.  They weren't needed, and weren't particularly provocative.  Definitely a "photo opportunity."