ACLU Challenges Recall of Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price

By Jillian Rousseau and Nikki Iyer 

ALAMEDA, CA – Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price is currently facing harsh criticism and a mobilized recall effort—but the ACLU of Northern California recently issued stark opposition.

The Northern California ACLU claims DA Price effectively works to maintain safety in Alameda and recognizes systemic racism in the justice system, noting her emphasis on holding officers accountable. 

“During her short time in office, she has held individuals who commit serious crimes accountable. Yet at the same time, Price has acknowledged the baked in racism within the criminal legal system and advocated for policies that would reduce mass incarceration. Price has also made it a priority to prosecute rogue cops, finally holding police accountable to the public they have sworn to protect,” according to the ACLU of Northern California.

The ACLU of Northern California notes Price is the first Black woman DA in the county’s history “elected on a platform that challenged the status quo by promising meaningful and compassionate public safety solutions that are consistent with the values of civil liberties and civil rights that Alameda County residents voted for and the ACLU supports.”

According to the ACLU, $500,000 has been raised in support of the DA’s recall, in addition to the creation of a recall petition.

However, the Northern California ACLU said, in a statement, “this recall effort is part of a broader strategy to remove progressive, pro-reform elected officials because of their work to advance civil liberties.”

The ACLU argues that placing blame for crime issues on the DA ignores a history of challenges with crime in Alameda.

“To blame DA Price for crime problems that have been decades in the making is blatantly dishonest. We urge voters to educate themselves on the issues and reject the politics of fear which are a cynical effort to roll back criminal justice reforms,” stated the ACLU NorCal

The organization acknowledges public concern about safety, but asserts that a recall election will not offer the desired solvency.

“People who live in Alameda County have valid concerns about public safety. We understand the anger and frustration. But we also know that holding a recall election just 11 months after Price assumed office is a rash move by recall supporters that will fix nothing,” according to the ACLU of Northern California.

The ACLU of Northern California further cautions against the recall, referencing the recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin of San Francisco, where, the ACLUNC said, voters were misled into believing the recall of Boudin would make the city safer—but once Boudin was replaced with a DA who insisted she would be “tough on crime,” crime rates increased.

Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California Abdi Soltani states that recalling DA Price would set a detrimental precedent. 

“If these types of recalls are successful, especially in this case of arguably one of the most progressive DAs in the state and country, it will have a chilling effect…It would impact the ability of elected officials with strong civil liberties values to act courageously due to fears that they could suffer the same fate,” Soltani said.

About The Author

Nikki Iyer is a first-year student at UC Berkeley, passionate about journalism and human rights. As an intern, she aims to help solve injustice in the courts. Down the line, she plans on pursuing a career in media. In her free time, she loves dancing and exploring new cafes.

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