Was OPD's Treatment of Inner Circle racist?

Revellers at Inner Circle
Revellers at Inner Circle

Last week, Geoffrey Pete–long a well-respected figure in Oakland’s African-American community, and the owner of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle nightclub–held a press conference outside Oakland City Hall to announce he’s considering filing a complaint against the OPD for unlawful harassment.

Pete has previously raised allegations that OPD and former mayor Jerry Brown instituted a crackdown on Oakland’s African-American clubs in the downtown area–which happened to coincide with Brown’s plan to bring 10,000 new residents to the city and a surge of development. On Tuesday, he charged the police with “extortion practices as it relates to the closing of my establishment” and threatened a lawsuit unless mediation occurs.

As reported on the front page of the Oakland Post (both the Chron and the Trib neglected to cover the press conference), Pete claims that OPD gave “false information” to the manager of a parking garage the nightclub used, which led to the cancellation of Pete’s contract, and refused to allow him to hold an event at Sweet’s Ballroom unless 18 police officers were hired to provide security, at a cost of $7,600 (OPD later dropped the number of officers needed to six, which Pete also refused to pay for, and the party was shut down when officers blocked the entrance).

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