A very sad and tense day yesterday. I live in East Oakland, and most of the time we are all just working, living, and getting along. Yesterday, just a short distance from my home, at an intersection that I pass daily on my way to take kids to and from school, a tragedy began with what was considered a routine traffic stop. The two officers were from our local precinct house and the corner is right across the street from the precinct. The man pulled over was a parole violator with an outstanding warrant. He opened fire and shot and killed both officers then fled. Just around the corner the police received a call that the man was in a nearby apartment building. Police surrounded the area (just as I was passing by...) and after a couple hours of standoff...he began to fire hitting two more officers before being shot and killed himself. This morning 3 officers are dead and Officer Hege is fighting for his life.
Our community is in a tense and critical condition as well. I can only imagine the tension that will exist now between the young men in my part of Oakland and the officers who risk their lives each day. Often I find myself seeing many sides of a situation. I know that Oakland's police department has had it's share of critisism in regards to racial injustice and economic injustice...I have sometimes been the one critical...but I also know that there are community officers who really are dedicated to this little part of Oakland and I share in the grief and outrage for the department and their families. To be a mother of young people in Oakland, each day you send your children out to school, play, work is a risk...they could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Today, however, I am imagining what it must be like to be the partner, child, parent of an Oakland Police officer and each day knowing you are sending them off to work that is so risky.
Update: Officer Hege passed away today from injuries yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers to the entire OPD community and families.