Convinced they had the man they were looking for, Oakland police followed two outreach workers who had been helping feed the homeless and pulled them over, dragging and handcuffing the man in the passenger seat as well as handcuffing the woman driver.
At first, the cops claimed it was all over an illegal lane change which seemed like overkill considering they all had their guns drawn on the man as a police helicopter hovered above. They eventually admitted they thought the black man in the passenger seat was another black man they were looking for.
The two workers, identified only as Yanna and Akil, were working with The Village, an organization that helps the homeless. They had just returned to the East Oakland Collective, another community organization that works with underserve communities, when several cop cars pulled up behind them.
The cops began calling the man by a different name while pulling him out of the car, then piling on top of him where they demanded he put his hands behind his back.
“How do I do that,” Akil asked, considering they were physically preventing him for placing his hands behind his back.
The video was posted on the Instagram channel of the East Oakland Collective with the following description:
Oakland Police Department followed and targeted two unhoused outreach workers with The Village. Handcuffing and detaining them in the parking lot of The East Oakland Collective. Guns drawn. Threatened to be tased. Police helicopter up. Yanna and Akil had just finished distributing water, food and supplies to fellow unhoused residents; and were coming to meet with us. The police initially didn’t tell us why they were being pulled over and didn’t ask for ID. Eventually said it was for a lane change. It wasn’t until they pulled off with Akil in the squad car that they finally admitted the real reason—Akil matched the description of a suspect who committed a crime in the area. They racially profiled this brother who was simply out serving the people. So this is how OPD treats essential workers during COVID19 pandemic?!
The cops released the two workers with no charges. Watch the shortened video above or the full video below.