Wilson Riles, Former Councilmember, Arrested By Oakland Police For “Zoning While Black” – His Own Words

(Last Updated On: October 21, 2019)

Zennie62Media note: the headline “Wilson Riles, Former Councilmember, Arrested By For “Zoning While Black” – His Own Words” – In His Own Words” did not come from Riles, it came from Zennie62Media.

Update: Zennie Abraham interviews Wilson Riles:


October 18, 2019 Contact: Wilson Riles 510-530-2448

I, former Council Member Wilson Riles, was thrown to the floor of the Zoning office, handcuffed, and driven to Santa Rita Jail to be booked. I am 73 years old but no man, women, youth, or person of any race should be treated in this fashion. There was no threat from me. Black lives do matter…in also. I am bruised and sore but, more than that, I am mad that our City, our Zoning Department, and our Police Department could remain so prejudiced and brutally callous in its treatment of any resident.

All this occurred at about 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 17. 2019. See arrest report #19-054106.

I had gone to the Zoning Department to talk to Michae Legaultrefused to look at the City codes. I found this outrageous. I insisted on speaking to his supervisor. Eventually, a supervisor, Rich Fielding (Richard Fielding), showed up and we sat down to discuss the issue, unsatisfactorily. Mr. Fielding indicated that he would look at a document that does not deal with this issue and that he would get back to me…after I left the office. As I got up to go, four or five officers arrived and blocked my way, never indicating to me that they were arresting me for anything. I continued to try to leave and they grabbed me, attempted to twist my arms behind me, and tripped me throwing me to the floor. These officers made no attempt to deescalate the situation. Handcuffed, I was hustled out of the building into a waiting police cruiser. Around 11:30 a.m., I was switched into a ‘paddy wagon’ and driven to Santa Rita Jail to be booked. For what: “Obstructing a public officer” and “battery of a police officer.”

Anyone who knows me, knows that this charge is bogus. Just as bogus as the Zoning Departments attempt to require me to get a permit for a temporary structure; this is an additional harassment tactic after four years of struggle over what me and my family and friends do in my own backyard (pray, seek sustainability, and grow fruits and vegetables). Good God, I am flabbergasted that the residents and workers in the City that I love are subject to this kind of treatment. We have a long, long way to go in to improve how we are treated by our government and improve how we treat each other. I will be filing a complaint to the Commission. I wish I had a citizens’ agency, like the Commission, to which I could complain about the mistreatment of the Zoning Department.


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