DA O’Malley Announces Creation of the Fair and Equitable Policing and Prosecution Advisory Council

As I reflect alongside members of my Office and my community on the murder of George Floyd and the incredible outpouring of pain, anger and action over the last two weeks, I recognize the immediacy and urgency this moment brings to the Office of the District Attorney. While we have worked for years to address and reduce racism and bias in the justice system, there is much more to be done. As prosecutors, we are in a unique position to be leaders of change.

I am announcing the creation of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Fair and Equitable Policing and Prosecution Advisory Council. The Council will include members from the Alameda County community, particularly from the African American community, as well as selected members from my office and other governmental entities. The Council will include individuals of all ages and be representative of the entire county. I will include academics, practicing attorneys, the business community and those with lived experiences. The Advisor Council will work with me as I work with the Fair and Equitable Policing and Prosecution Working Group. I will seek input and sage advice through listen and learn dialogues. I will value the counsel of the diverse Advisory Council as I continue to build a justice system that is equal and equitable for all.

The Public Defenders of California, including those working in Alameda County, as they stand in solidarity with those protesting police brutality and systemic racism and declare that Black Lives Matter to Public Defenders. We are often adversaries to the Public Defenders in the courtroom, but not on this issue and not in this moment. We support, honor and stand in solidarity with our colleagues in the Public Defender’s Office, as well as our community, calling out police brutality, racial profiling, social inequalities and systematic inequities committed against African Americans in our community and communities across this country.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is and has been very mindful of recruiting and hiring professionals who reflect our community. 52% of the wide range of professionals employed in my Office are people of color. I have very intentionally recruited and hired attorneys of color and women. My racially diverse staff wholeheartedly believes that Black Lives Matter. To us, those are not just words; they are a call to action.

While my Office has made strides in this area, we acknowledge there is more to be done. In 2015, I created the Fair and Equitable Policing and Prosecution (FEPP) Working Group. Through our deep and careful examination of our own work, policies and practices, we have worked to eradicate implicit bias and racism facing people of color that have historically existed. We have become more aware that there are social, educational, and personal experiences and circumstances that have led individuals to engage in criminal conduct. In direct response to our work through FEPP, we have created and enhanced several opportunities for those charged with certain crimes to participate in Collaborative Courts, all of which are alternatives to incarceration. These Courts and programs have yielded positive and important outcomes for those justice involved individuals. We’ve removed convictions from thousands of individuals’ records through the Clean Slate Court, which we created more than 15 years ago. Most recently, we partnered with the NAACP-Southern Alameda County and dismissed several hundred convictions during February, Black History Month.

Going forward, we will focus on and examine policies and practices for the purpose of implementing reforms in our criminal justice practices. Every member of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office wants an office that protects the community, that hears and supports victims of crime and that provides effective interventions, where possible, for those who find themselves justice involved.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office stands in solidarity with our community and our country and leadership in this moment and in the future.

Posted on Jun 8, 2020