After more than eight hours of testimony, comments from hundreds of speakers and disagreement amongst the Councilmembers, the Oakland City Council adopted the consulting contract for controversial police consultant William Bratton.
The vote was 7-1, with Councilmember Desley Brooks opposing. The Council also unanimously approved funding needed to borrow 10 Alameda County sheriff's deputies for the Oakland Police Department for 90 days and to add 21 civilian positions within the department.
More than 250 people registered to speak - the majority were against the contract - and hundreds more spectators filled the Council chambers and several viewing rooms. As in previous Council meetings, there were occasional shouting matches between supporters and opponents, standoffs between Council President Patricia Kernighan and some speakers who refused to cede the mic, as well as ongoing wrangling over time allotted for comments. But the meeting remained relatively calm and eventually finished at 2:50 a.m.
Before voting, Brooks raised several concerns about the contract, primarily that there was little accountability. She said she was disappointed that the contract had not been made public before the hearing and that she believed the Council was reacting out of fear.
"When are we going to stop playing off of people's emotions?" Brooks asked the rest of the Council.
"Bratton is only going to be here for two months. When [the consultants] go away, what are we going to do at the end of 120 days," Brooks continued, referring to the length of the contract.
After an emotional speech about crime in West Oakland, her district, Councilwoman Lynette Gibson-McElhaney surprised some in the audience when she lent her support to Jordan's request for consulting help.
"I don't believe I can tell you how to do your job," Gibson-McElhaney said. "You are the coach and as a community we need you to put wins on the board."
Compared to the Jan. 15 public safety meeting where vocal opponents of Bratton's contract populated most of the audience, the attendees of Tuesday's City Council meeting were a mix of church groups, Occupy Oakland protesters and civil rights activists.
A group of Oakland pastors came out in support of any action that would reduce crime in the city, including the hiring of Bratton. Bishop Bob Jackson pleaded with the Council to provide OPD with the resources necessary to fight Oakland's crime wave.
"Black boys and brown boys are dying in our streets," Jackson said. "There's got to be something that we can do. If Bill Bratton can come in and reduce crime, then I'm for Bill Bratton."
"With the climate of violence in our city, will all of us make it home tonight?" asked another bishop. "It behooves us, from the hills to the flat lands, that we will no longer tolerate this violence."
Hundreds more speakers responded with staunch opposition to the contract.
"We keep talking about crime, but we're not talking about the causes of crime,"Cat Brooks, a spokeswoman for ONYX, said. "Hiring Bratton is like putting a band-aid over a gunshot wound."
Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, warned the City Council he thought there would be consequences for bringing stop and frisk policies to Oakland.
"You will create a war zone like you've never seen before … these intrusive measures are why my nephew is dead, why Oscar Grant is dead, why Alan Blueford is dead," Johnson said. "If the OPD and the city council wants to make good with the community, start by firing Johannes Mehserle." Mehserle is the BART police officer who shot and killed Grant in 2009. Many speakers also took issue with an email Kernighan sent out that told her constituents "to FILL the Council Chambers with people who believe in orderly and civil discussions of issues," but also that they did not "need to speak unless you feel comfortable doing so."
Isaac Ontiveros waited for more than seven hours to talk to the Council. When he was finally called up, he explained to Kernighan why so many found her letter offensive.
"I though a lot about that letter today. To have a person who claims to represent me saying that these speakers are part of a circus, it's offensive," Ontiveros said. "It's old, antiquated language."
Almost six hours into the meeting, after dozens of speakers had already had their turn at the microphone, Jamie Omar Yassin, as he identified himself on Twitter, refused to cede the floor and was surrounded by police.
After a small confrontation, which was posted on Vimeo on Wednesday, the speaker left peacefully.
This was just one of several moments of confusion between the Council and the hundreds of speakers.
As the meeting stretched into the next day, the audience in the Council chambers thinned out. A few vocal opponents of the contract remained, however. Several had to be escorted out of the chambers following their protests to the final vote.
This article was updated to clarifiy who Johannes Mehserle is. It was also updated to add Jaime Omar Yassin's name and video of his confrontation with police at the meeting. 1:58 p.m., Jan. 23.