Oakland’s Operation Ceasefire Draws Criticism

Mayor Jean Quan has determined to take a different approach to the rising problem of violent crime in Oakland, one that has garnered a great deal of criticism and is simply unconstitutional.  Operation Ceasefire is a simple plan: officers trick suspected gang members into meeting with them in order to offer them certain social services, and then threaten them with arrests if they do not straighten out.

One of the key issues with this particular method is that it has led to at least 15 secret arrests.  In other words, Oakland governmental officials and law enforcement agents have continually refused to divulge the identities of the persons arrested and to make public what their alleged crimes are.  This is simply not something that is done when it comes to protecting the rights of citizens.

As you can imagine, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has recently gotten involved, demanding to know the names and crimes of the persons arrested as part of Operation Ceasefire. And it’s only fair that they do so.  California law states that persons arrested on suspicion of a crime have the right to be arraigned within two days of arrest, not two weeks after.  If these arraignments have already occurred, then why has the mayor refused to release what should be public information?  It may be that she feels as if she is stuck between the proverbial “rock and a hard place,” feeling the growing pressure from the public to curtail the violence in Oakland, which has recently included the deaths of two innocent young children.