The Oakland City Council on Tuesday will honor “change-makers” in each council district in celebration of Black History Month, as well as honor the legacy of Oscar Grant. Here’s some of what is happening at Tuesday’s meeting, which begins at 1:30 p.m.
Oscar Grant: The council is set to adopt a resolution designating Feb. 27, 2022 as “Oscar Grant Day” in Oakland to commemorate the life of Grant and honor the work of his mother, Reverend Wanda Johnson. Grant was killed at the Fruitvale BART station on New Year’s Day in 2009 by BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle. Grant was 22 years old, unarmed, and lying on his stomach on the station’s platform when Mehserle shot him in the back. Mehserle claimed he thought he pulled his Taser, not his firearm. Grant’s death was captured on cell phone camera footage and sparked protests and outcry, after the shooting and again after a jury found Mehserle only guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Rail safety: The city of Oakland and the Alameda County Transportation Commission are poised to enter an agreement to improve safety at the High Street railroad crossing near Interstate 880. There have been 14 crashes, three of them fatal, at the High Street crossing since 1999, according to an Oakland Department of Transportation report.
OPD grants: The Oakland Police Department has received a grant of $367,898 from the U.S. Department of Justice that will be used to reduce the crime lab’s DNA backlog, which includes cases of homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and other crimes. OPD plans to use the funds to purchase technology and equipment to more efficiently test DNA evidence. Separately, OPD applied for and was awarded a $68,894 state DOJ grant to process 73 sexual assault evidence kits.
Fire station report: Councilmembers will also hear a report on the state of city firehouses and firefighting equipment. The fire department estimates there are about $11 million in maintenance upgrades and repairs needed—everything from installing air conditioners and new kitchen cabinets to replacing flooring and windows.
The agenda for the meeting can be found here. And here’s a helpful guide to watching and speaking at council meetings.