Alameda County D.A. Nancy O’Malley speaking
Tuesday before the Oakland City Council.

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | Two weeks ago, as Oakland elected officials spent their entire Saturday afternoon discussing the historical divide between police and residents, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley was attending a gala in her honor.

The eventful, but lengthy Jan. 24 special session in which many speakers directed harsh criticism toward O’Malley for a belief her office has failed to prosecute police officers who have killed black men in the city, was continued to last Tuesday’s Oakland Council meeting.

Further discussion was needed, said Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and O’Malley was there.

“This whole issue is extremely important,” O’Malley said Tuesday night. “It is a moment in time that we cannot let pass us by.”

She also lauded her office’s record for diverting juveniles from incarceration and working with victims of violent crime.

But, earlier Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan was critical of the D.A.’s office for what she said was data showing blacks are being more heavily prosecuted than whites for alleged crimes committed during recent protests in Oakland.

“That is a reinforcement of the same issue being critiqued in terms of deferential enforcement,” said Kaplan.

Calling herself “data-driven,” O’Malley, however, refuted Kaplan’s claim. “Nothing has shown to be true about that comment.”

Last month, an empty seat reserved for O’Malley in the City Council chambers became a lightning rod for many speakers to lash out against her absence. The vitriol hit its peak when former Black Panthers leader Elaine Brown called O’Malley racist during the public comment period.