OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
Those involved in Oakland’s notorious police misconduct scandal that included the alleged sexual abuse of a then-underage girl have either been fired, suspended, or charged with serious crimes. Now, it’s the city’s turn to pay for one of Oakland’s darkest moments.
During a lengthy meeting that concluded just before 2 a.m, Wednesday morning, the Oakland City Council approved a settlement with Jasmine Abuslin for $989,000. The woman, known previously by her alias Celeste Guap, had sued the city for $66 million last year for violating her civil rights.
The City Council approved the nearly $1 million settlement during closed session on May 16. Under the terms of settlement the city denies the allegations made by Abuslin.
Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks was the lone vote opposing the settlement in closed session and did so again early Wednesday morning.
“I think it is appalling,” Brooks said of the city denying the allegations that included numerous Oakland police officers and others in neighboring cities and jurisdictions took advantage of Abuslin and in some cases had sex with her when she was a minor.
“A young girl was victimized and morally we don’t see that is wrong,” said Brooks. “I believe this settlement is another example of Ms. Guap being abused by the system.”
In a statement following Tuesday night’s meeting, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said, “The magnitude of this scandal, not only the number of officers accused of sexual misconduct, but the number that are alleged to have known about it and not done anything, suggest that we need fundamental cultural change.”
DEPT OF VIOENCE PREVENTION SHELVED AGAIN
Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney’s vision for creating a city department dedicated to violence prevention will have to wait another few weeks before it gets an up or down determination by the City Council.
But it’s not clear when the proposed Department of Violence Prevention will be heard again. Early Wednesday morning the council voted to move its discussion to the June 6 meeting. But Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker repeatedly cautioned the council to no avail that the item cannot be agendized in time for that meeting, according to the city’s sunshine laws.
Meanwhile, Brooks, along with Councilmembers Anne Campbell Washington and Noel Gallo are proposing instead to first create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Violence Prevention. All three had been reticent about McElhaney’s plan during committee hearings because of the timing of its unveiling during the current budget season.
But this proposal was also tempered by Parker, who said Tuesday night’s scheduled item only dealt with McElhaney’s proposed city department, not for the creation of a commission.
Brooks disagreed with Parker’s assessment, saying there was precedent for allowing discussion of a previous commission. “You gave us lousy advice then or lousy advice now,” Brooks told Parker.
Looking distraught and obviously exhausted from a council meeting that ran more than eight hours, McElhaney lamented that 100 people in Oakland have been shot since she first proposed the new department since just last April.