We, as leaders of the civil rights and Black community in Oakland, are very disturbed by comments District Attorney candidate Terry Wiley made at several recent candidate forums. As reported by KRON 4 News, on October 19, 2022, Mr. Wiley stated “crime is being driven by 59 gangs that currently occupy the City of Oakland – they are driving it. They commit one out of every homicide . . . ”
This coded rhetoric that all crime in Alameda County is being driven by gangs in Oakland feeds into the highly-charged racist notion that Oakland is the cause of ALL the crime problems in our neighboring cities.
Labeling Oakland as the seat of all crime in Alameda County is clearly a dog-whistle to the rest of the County that Wiley is the candidate who will attack Oakland’s large Black, Brown and Asian community.
Wiley’s clearly inaccurate statement ignores the thousands of cases of domestic violence, corporate crimes, including consumer fraud and environmental pollution, racist attacks on African-Americans which are on the rise as well as anti-AAPI assaults, DUIs and driving violations and police misconduct which is happening all over the County. Mr. Wiley’s contempt for Oakland is clearly driven by the Solano County bubble that he has lived in for 20 years. Mr. Wiley has not been a member of the Oakland community, or even a resident of Alameda County, and his divisive and racist views about Oakland are outside the mainstream views of our community.
During the same forum sponsored by the Alameda County Bar Association and the League of Women Voters, Mr. Wiley said that “every homicide involves a gang member” – either the perpetrator, witness or victim. This “fact” is also incredibly incorrect and feeds into the “gang” fear mongering rhetoric that he has been using his entire campaign. Even his campaign advertising emphasizes the false narrative that “2,000 people are driving all the crime in Alameda County.” It is clear that he is only focused on creating a boogeyman fear of Oakland and further over-criminalizing the Black, Brown and Asian community.
We ask that Mr. Wiley apologize to our community for his “Oakland is the root of the problem” tactics and cease and desist such divisive attacks on Oakland.
President Emeritus, ILWU Northern District Council
Co-Chair, John George Democratic Club
Community Organizer, Block By Block Organizing Network, Secretary, Coalition for Police Accountability
Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee member
CEO, African-American Sports & Entertainment Group
Art Doug Blacksher
Host of “The Black Business Round Table”
Dr. Tony Jackson
Psychologist/Author, Member, Brotherhood of Elders
President, Coalition for Police Accountability
Past President, NAREB Women’s Council