OAKLAND -- Supporters of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price rallied Sunday afternoon in the face of mounting criticism over her handling of the Jasper Wu murder case.
They chanted "Pamela" as she took the microphone. Price opened her speech singing "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around," a Civil Rights movement anthem, and drew comparisons between that struggle for justice and equality with her office's current fight.
"The lesson is that when you show up for freedom and justice, you have to be ready for the backlash," she said. "Some people often say why does it matter that you're the first Black woman to serve in this seat? And they need to understand the reality of being Black in Alameda County. If you are a Black person in Alameda County, you are 20 times more likely to be incarcerated than a White person. Racial injustice in this county is what we all need to be firmly committed against."
"Black and Brown people are the most impacted by this system and yet we are the least respected. And I hope that we are learning that those who are closest to the problem have the best solution to the problem," she added.
Price said she was committed to repairing decades of mismanagement in the DA's office. She listed her accomplishments during her first few months in office, such as expanding victim services. She urged her supporters to tell their friends that mental health support and violence prevention will keep their communities safe.
She called for compassionate justice and reforming the broken criminal justice system riddled with racism.
"We are handling the problems that come to us, that many should never come to us, with mental illness, where we should have mental health support for people in our community, and we should not be incarcerating them. But we should be mentoring and raising our young people and supporting them and creating restorative justice opportunities for them," Price said.
Sunday's rally comes two weeks after a rally demanding justice for Wu at the same location. The 23-month-old boy was killed by a stray bullet during a rolling gun battle between alleged gang members on I-880 in Oakland. Critics of Price are concerned she won't ask for the maximum punishment. Price said she hasn't decided on the charges.
Last month, she ordered her office to stop using gang and other enhancements to extend prison time unless they get approval from a supervisor.
"Incarceration, yeah I understand her saying there are too many people being incarcerated for little things. This is not a little thing, these are murders, these are not little things," said activist Serena from Uplifting SF Bay.
She was among a few protestors who showed up at Price's rally.
"They do incarcerate Black and Brown people. Selling drugs? Okay, no enhancements, but if you murder anybody, give them all the enhancements they can get. These was baby killers who killed Jasper Wu," said Oakland native and pastor Fabian Robinson. "Pamela Price is a problem. Recall Pamela Price."
Price supporter and speaker Carol Ferguson Jones said her son was killed in 2018 at a bus stop on his way to his grandmother's house. She said the DA has been extremely responsive.
"First time ever in five years, that I've spoken to someone that is concerned about what exactly is going on and trying to find the person that murdered my son and hold them accountable," she said. "I respect her for that, I respect her work."
KPIX made multiple attempts to speak with Price after the rally, but she ignored our questions, and we were told she would not be addressing the media.
"The media has not served us well, there was no coverage of our movement, they were too busy tearing down my friend Chesa," she told the crowd.
She encouraged them to work together to stop violence. After someone shouted "Justice for Jasper" she said on stage:
"Justice for Jasper, justice for everyone who has lost a loved one."
The preliminary hearing in Wu's case is set for Monday April 24th.
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