In response to the news and posts and the Oakland News Now account of an Oakland Police Officer spotted dressed in a Hawaiian shirt in the style of what is worn by the racist Boogaloo Boys, and photographed by an Oakland resident, then posted on Facebook, and to the reaction to the Interim Chief’s shocking email that seemed to belittle the matter, dismiss the attire, and defend the officer, the Oakland Police Department Information Officer wrote this:
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We understand that Hawaiian shirts are often worn by members of the far-right, anti-government group, the Boogaloo Boys, and that seeing a plain-clothes officer wearing a similar shirt can be upsetting to many residents in our community.
We appreciate that you included the Chief’s email in your post so readers can see her response. The Chief’s email clarifies and explains that the photo is not representative of a Boogaloo member and that Hawaiian shirts are still universally worn, despite their use by Boogaloos. The plain clothes officer photographed was unware of the association and reference a Hawaiian shirt has to an extremist, anti-government, group. To ensure that this misperception does not occur again, the concern will be shared with all plain clothes officers.
Chief Manheimer and all members of the Oakland Police Department share community concerns when perceptions or references are made that would associate OPD with any extremist groups. The Department recognizes and understands the pain and suffering caused by such extremist groups such as the Boogaloos, who are intolerant and instill fear and hatred in our community. The Oakland Police Department stands with our community and will not tolerate any hate crime against anyone in our community.
We are dedicated to serving our Oakland community; the Hate Crime Hotline is one of our many efforts to ensure that our community receives the service Oakland deserves.
If a community member is a victim of, or a witness to, what they believe to be a hate crime, we encourage them to call the OPD Hate Crime Hotline at (510) 637-4283 or the Department’s non-emergency phone number at (510) 777-3333.
My response to this is expressed here:
Thank you. But there is a terrible glaring problem. 1) The Hawaiian Shirt the Officer wore is in the style of the Boogaloo Boys. The shirts everyone has seen that were in her photo many have pointed to as not matching what he wore.
2). Your response should be to launch an investigation of the Oakland Police Department. I am 3,000 miles from you. From New York to Atlanta to Aurora Colorado, to you name the City, Kenosha, we have a problem where law enforcement seems to be harboring a white supremacist element. Root out the problem and fix it. My public call is for that to happen. We must restore trust in the Oakland police force.
3). Finally, the kind of media style I practice is technically-based and a direct counter to a style that allowed this problem to fester. Remember, I practice a news commentary style. There is no such thing as true objectivity. Please read: https://oaklandnewsnow.com/white-journalists-must-stop-institutional-racism-against-blacks-in-media-update/u-s-news/17/10/2019/32190/
Also, I only left out the Chief’s email because she did not send that to me. To print her email would have given the impression she did. I am happy to host Susan Manheimer on my show and she can directly address in long form this major problem.
She must understand that someone black sees this differently as do many who are white.
In closing for this chapter of what I can see is going to be an on-going story, the Interim Police Chief should have simply said she would open an investigation rather than give what was a flip response to my initial blog post – and not even to me, but to an Oaklander who emailed her. (I contacted Oakland Police Department Media out of respect for protocol, but in retrospect, well, you get the idea. I was still waiting when I spotted the second Facebook entry of her email.).
As for the reference to “the email”, I thought my friend the OPD Public Information Officer, was referring to the Chief’s specific email address, not the email that was posted. I did not want to post her direct email, because Chief Manheimer did not reach out to contact me, so I did not want to give the impression that she did, as I stated above. Of course, you’re probably thinking that all of this could have been solved with a phone call – I did call, but the voicemail was full.