The Oakland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called upon city leaders to declare a state of emergency on crime, stop defunding the police, and prosecute people who commit serious crimes.

In a written, open letter, Cynthia Adams, president of the Oakland branch of the NAACP, and Bishop Bob Jackson, senior pastor at Acts Full Gospel Church, spoke out against lawlessness in Oakland, California, where crime has risen 14% year over year, according to the Oakland Police Department.

“Failed leadership, including the movement to defund the police, our District Attorney’s unwillingness to charge and prosecute people who murder and commit life threatening serious crimes, and the proliferation of anti-police rhetoric have created a heyday for Oakland criminals,” wrote Adams and Jackson. “Our 911 system does not work. Residents now know that help will not come when danger confronts them.”

Adams and Jackson also directed attention toward self-censorship against calling for more action against crime

“We urge African Americans to speak out and demand improved public safety. We also encourage Oakland’s White, Asian, and Latino communities to speak out against crime and stop allowing themselves to be shamed into silence,” wrote Adams and Jackson. 

In a statement to CBS News, a spokesperson for the district attorney for Alameda County, where Oakland is located, lashed out against the NAACP, saying, “We are disappointed that a great African-American pastor and a great African-American organization would take a false narrative on such an important matter. We would expect more from Bishop Bob Jackson and the Oakland Chapter of the NAACP.” 

The public reaction against crime has been steadily growing in the Bay Area, with voters last year choosing to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who prioritized reducing incarceration through alternatives to prosecution and sentencing for a wide range of crimes. 

In April, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the National Guard and the California Highway Patrol in to “crack down on crime” in San Francisco. In fighting what Newsom called “rampant” crime in the city, law enforcement seized enough fentanyl to kill everyone in the city several times over.

Originally published in The Center Square

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