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Oakland Public Safety Committee Votes To Strengthen Sanctuary City Status

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- Oakland's Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night on a resolution to stop what City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan calls "collusion" between the Oakland Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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"And I'm here to say, if you're coming after my neighbor, you're coming after me. And I won't back down to ICE's threats against our community," said Kaplan.

"Our community needs to feel safe to come forward as victims of crimes, as witnesses of crime," said Kaplan. "They need to be able to talk to our police and trust that they aren't going to be harassed based on their immigration status."

Police Chief Ann Kirkpatrick was asked whether local politics are getting in the way the department's relationship with ICE.

"I wear the hat of the public safety. My vow, my goal, all of my intention is about safety factors. When it comes to our relationships and partnerships, that is governed by city policy," said Kirkpatrick. "The way government works is through politics, and politics isn't a negative term; it's the way businesses conduct it through government and we call that politics. It is the right of every community, every local government to set their policies.

Chief Kirkpatrick took some heat last summer when she agreed to let Oakland police officers handle traffic control while the feds conducted a raid against what Oakland officials were told were human traffickers.

It turns out, it was an immigration raid. While criminal charges have yet to be filed, one person was held for being in the country illegally.

City Councilman Noel Gallo, another member of the Public Safety Committee, said they needed to clarify the limitations of OPD during an immigration raid. but admitted the city needs federal help when it comes to other matters of public safety.

"Other federal agents are here in Oakland, assisting Oakland with public safety," said Gallo. "Whether there's removing guns from the street, guns or other criminal activity. They have our full cooperation and we need their assistance."

Last week, ICE acting director Thomas Homan said local officials could be charged with crimes over their cities' sanctuary city policies.

Kaplan's resolution will now go to the full city council for approval.


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