Oakland Police Arraigned

 

About     Pamela's Page     Book Pamela!     Signature Cases     Contact
Public Safety Requires Public Trust!
Sign the Petition for An Independent Investigation!
Donate to the  Jasmine Freedom Trust Fund!
 
  On Friday, September 23, 2016, the first Oakland police officer in our "crisis of corruption" goes to Court.  Brian J. Bunton, who allegedly abused his power as an officer of the law will be arraigned on several charges, including felony obstruction of justice. As we finally move forward in the continuing saga of abuse of power by police officials, the question looms, does obstruction of justice really matter?  Is obstruction of justice a "victimless crime?"

What is Obstruction of Justice? 

"Obstruction may consist of any attempt to hinder the discovery, apprehension, conviction or punishment of anyone who has committed a crime. The acts by which justice is obstructed may include bribery, murder, intimidation, and the use of physical force against witnesses, law enforcement officers or court officials."

For anyone who is tempted to think that obstruction of justice is a "victimless crime," I offer the story of prosecutorial misconduct in Bakersfield, California.  There, Kern County Deputy District Attorney Robert Murray admits to falsifying a confession transcript that he provided to a defense attorney.  Murray gave it to the defense attorney during plea negotiations when Murray knew defense counsel was trying to persuade the defendant to take a deal.  Murray claims he was joking, but only after he was caught.  Murray still works for the Kern County District Attorney.

The trial judge threw out the charges when the faked confession was exposed.  The case involved alleged sexual abuse of a ten year-old girl.  The defendant could have been sent away for life if convicted.  As a result of Murray's misconduct and the dismissal of the charges, the defendant, a sexual predator, is freed.  He is later arrested and charged with having sex with a minor under fourteen.  Prosecutors believe he impregnated the girl when she was thirteen.  In effect, because the prosecutor decided to "obstruct justice," a sexual predator got away with sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl and went free to victimize another 13-year-old girl.  So I ask, the parents of which one of these girls thinks that obstruction of justice is "a victimless crime?"

Closer to Home

Closer to home, in July 2010, the Oakland City Council approved a $6.5 million settlement in a case which exposed the routine use of false or misleading information for search warrants.  There, OPD's own records allegedly showed that more than 57% of all search warrants in drug cases involving a confidential informant between 2001 and 2008 were based on false information.  Eleven officers are fired.  Most are later reinstated.  None of the officers accused of creating false police reports are ever prosecuted.  Some of them still work for Oakland police.  The number of people sent to jail based on false information remains unknown.

In October 2011, Oakland agreed to pay $1.7 million to the family of Jerry Amaro. Oakland police beat Mr. Amaro while arresting him on suspicion of trying to buy drugs from undercover police officers.  They broke five of his ribs and lacerated one of his lungs.  He died a month later of pneumonia caused by his fractured ribs. None of the officers involved documented the use of force.  OPD told his heartbroken mother that her son "died in the street" following a gang dispute over drugs.  None of the officers accused of filing false police reports to conceal Amaro's beating were ever prosecuted.  Some of them still work for Oakland police.

The Tip of the Iceberg?

Officer Brian Bunton, facing felony charges for obstruction of justice and prostitution, appears to be the tip of the iceberg in Oakland.  In our case, it appears that many people went to great lengths to conceal ongoing widespread criminal activity. We know that OPD investigators received a suicide note from Officer Brendan O'Brien in September 2015.  We know that OPD investigators looked into Jasmine's cell phone with all of its incriminating text messages and recorded calls.  We also know that access and information to Jasmine's Facebook page was publicly available.  Police chiefs in both Richmond and Oakland were allegedly her Facebook friends.  

And yet, every one of the local District Attorneys staunchly maintains that she or he did not even know about the suicide note or the OPD investigation until she or he read about it in the East Bay Express Newspaper.  

Clearly, higher officials than Brian Bunton obstructed justice in this case.  We are all victims of the obstruction of justice because we have to live with the fallout.  Public safety requires public trust!  Who can we believe - the Mayors, the DAs, the Chiefs?  I'm not sure that any of them has any credibility left.  Where were they for nine months?  Who else should be charged with obstruction of justice?  What do you think? Feel free to post your comment at pamelaspage.com or at my Facebook page.
The Jasmine Freedom Trust Fund is established and administered under the non-profit Bracelet Charitable Freedom Fund.  All donations are tax-deductible.
Sign the Petition for An Independent Investigation! 
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn   
 
SUBSCRIBE TO LIST
 
FORWARD EMAIL
Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.
 
Pamela Y. Price, Attorney At Law, 7677 Oakport Drive, Ste. 1120, Oakland, CA 94621
Sent by pyp@pypesq.com in collaboration with
Add your reaction Share

Press Release 10/20/2016

 

About     Pamela's Page     Book Pamela!     Signature Cases     Contact
 
  
Since September 5th, it has been my responsibility and privilege to serve the young woman at the eye of the Bay Area police sex exploitation misconduct.  I went to Florida at the request of her father and lead counsel Attorney Charles Bonner to rescue Jasmine.  We went to Florida because we knew the dangers she faced as a young woman literally "caught up" in the criminal justice system.  

We knew that if law enforcement agencies could use their power and the criminal justice system to silence Jasmine, it would send a devastating message to all the other victims of commercial sexual exploitation by police and others in powerful positions.  That message would effectively shut down any hope for these victims and for us.  We know that Jasmine is not the only one.  So Attorney Charles Bonner and I went and pushed and pushed and pushed until we gained her freedom.  Literally by any legal means necessary.  


In bringing Jasmine home and working on her case, I have tried to provide new opportunities and guidance for her to rebuild her life.  It is my hope that she will someday be able to take advantage of those opportunities.  I hope that she will come to understand that the life she was living can lead to death and destruction.  Her safety and security have been my paramount concerns.  Her redemption as a lost child has been my mission.  I believe that Jasmine deserves a second chance at a first class life.  I would never abandon her in that effort.  Effective immediately,  however, I regret that I will no longer be representing her as her attorney.  

I am proud of the work done by the Coalition to Restore Public Trust, including all of its members, to hold our law enforcement officials accountable.  I am very grateful for the support we received during our time in Florida from the citizens of the Bay Area and the State of Florida.  The National Organization for Women has been a tremendous ally, both here and in Florida.  I will continue to use my knowledge, skills and abilities to work as a champion for justice.  All of us have to continue to speak out and show up for our children, for our communities and for our country.   
Public Safety Requires Public Trust - Sign the Call for an Independent Investigation of Police Trafficking 
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn   
 
SUBSCRIBE TO LIST
 
FORWARD EMAIL
Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.
 
Pamela Y. Price, Attorney At Law, 7677 Oakport Drive, Ste. 1120, Oakland, CA 94621
Sent by pyp@pypesq.com in collaboration with
Add your reaction Share

Morgan vs Amtrak

Abner Morgan, Pamela, Howard Moore, Jr. inside the USSC
 
Abner Morgan, Pamela, Howard Moore, Bill McNeill
 

I run up the stairs in my office to the lobby.  Robin Morgan sits there waiting.  I am so excited.  Today is closing argument inMorgan v. Amtrak and I love closing argument.  I know how long Robin has been supporting her husband, Abner Morgan.  I tell her to "hold on, your blessing is on the way!"  Little did I know that "her blessing" would not come for another seven (7) years.

 Morgan v. Amtrak - the Racial Harassment Case

Robin's husband Abner was an electrician for Amtrak in the Oakland Yard.  He worked there for five (5) years.  Abner walked off the job when the foreman told him to "get your black ass in here."  That "direct order" from a racist foreman was the last straw for Abner.  For years he and his co-workers had complained about racism in the Yard.  Their complaints had even triggered Senator Barbara Boxer to request an investigation by Amtrak's Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The OIG investigation confirmed that Amtrak subjected Black men working on the Yard to harsher discipline, more dangerous job assignments and abusive treatment.

Amtrak fired Abner in 1995.  At the trial in 1998, one of the white foreman came forward and testified that one Amtrak supervisor regularly performed something he called "the shufflebutt ni--er dance."  The foreman testified that the white supervisor did his dance in the office at night for the other supervisors' entertainment.

 
We presented evidence of the most despicable racism in any workplace. The jury found that Amtrak's management was "grossly unprofessional" and engaged in "questionable ethical conduct."  The jury also found that the response from Amtrak's EEO Office was "woefully remiss."  But, the all-white jury still ruled in favor of Amtrak.  The jury could not accept that the hostile environment was based on Abner's race.  




Our Trip to the Supreme Court
 
 
Fast forward to 2000.  I'm standing in my guest bedroom crying.  We had won the appeal in the Ninth Circuit.  Amtrak had filed a petition for hearing in the United States Supreme Court.  We opposed it.  After months, the Court granted the petition and accepted the case.  I was so upset.  We had waited so long and won the case on appeal.  Robin and Abner had three children: two teenagers and a mentally disabled adult son.  Abner's firing meant they had to survive mainly on Robin's income for years.  They had suffered great hardships.  My firm had been tested by the years of unpaid legal services as well.  

I called my mentor Howard Moore, Jr., the famous civil rights lawyer who raised me from a pup  lawyer.  The conversation with Howard was very short.  I told him through my tears that the United States Supreme Court had granted the petition for hearing.  Howard said "that's great kid.  Congratulations! This will be great for your career." And hung up.

I had no idea what Howard knew.  I would be one of the few Black women in history to argue a case in the United States Supreme Court.  We spent six (6) months preparing for the oral argument.  Bill McNeill and the Employment Law Center offered their assistance as soon as it became public that it was my case.  My team included Bill and his lawyers Jory Steele and Willie, and Shelley Gregory.  Of course, Howard agreed to serve as my co-counsel on appeal and sponsored my request to be admitted to the United States Supreme Court bar. 
 
The Fight for the Case

 It was not long before lawyers around the country contacted me.  Some offered help with the briefing and strategy on how to win the case. Others simply wanted to take the case.  There was intense pressure on me to let an "experienced" Supreme Court lawyer handle the case.  I quickly learned that "Supreme Court lawyer" was an exclusive all white male club.  So, I called Howard again.  This time, the conversation was equally short but not so happy.  Howard was angry. When I told him that people wanted to take my case and argue it for me, he said "If a woman with a degree from Yale and two degrees from UC Berkeley can not argue her own case in the Supreme Court, she should give all of her degrees back."  And he hung up on me again.  

And so that was decided.  Abner Morgan, to his credit, co-signed Howard's statement by saying that I was his lawyer and he was not going to let anyone else argue his case.  I got it.  So I gathered my wits, my spirit, took charge of the situation and got us all to Washington, D.C.  argued the case in January 2002.  We "claimed the victory" in my office in Oakland and again in the hallowed halls of the United States Supreme Court.  The Court ruled in our favor in June 2002.  We WON!  Read the decision here!

The Final Outcome  
Abner Morgan Jr. & Pamela
Winning in the Supreme Court meant that we got to try the case again.  It took another two years to get through the appellate process and back to the trial court.  In May 2004, we tried the case a second time.  This time, the jury got it right and awarded Abner $500,000.  After nine (9) years of litigation, Amtrak finally settled the case later that year.  

Robin's blessing finally arrived.  What I can say to anyone reading this who has ever been tested, from a woman of faith who has been blessed and highly favored over and over and who believes in the power of prayer,  "hold on. Your blessing is on the way.
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn   
 
SUBSCRIBE TO LIST
 
FORWARD EMAIL
Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.
 
Pamela Y. Price, Attorney At Law, 7677 Oakport Drive, Ste. 1120, Oakland, CA 94621
Sent by pyp@pypesq.com in collaboration with
Add your reaction Share