By Anti Police-Terror Project
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2020
Anti Police-Terror Project
San Leandro Police Execute Black Man in Walmart
As white nationalists gather across the country wielding assault rifles in protest of public health mandates with no response from police, people of color experiencing apparent mental health crises continue to be shot and killed because of egregious and brutally racist law enforcement practices.
The global pandemic is ravaging the mental health of Black communities as they experience sickness and death at an alarming rate. This situation is the dystopian backdrop to the killing of 33-year-old beloved community member Steven Taylor by police in a San Leandro Walmart early Saturday evening.
This officer who killed Mr. Taylor, the only person close to him at the time, had a number of choices in the moments leading to Taylor’s death. But it is abundantly clear in the multiple videos that the officer did not see Steven Taylor’s humanity. Because if the officer had seen Steven Taylor as a human being, Mr. Taylor would still be here today. He did not need to die.
There is another person who has a choice at this moment: District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. In January of this year, new use of force rules came into effect in California after the passage of AB 392. The law now states that law enforcement can only use lethal force when “necessary”. There is no interpretation of the video that we have seen that could be interpreted to consider this officer’s actions necessary. They were objectively unnecessary. And thus outside of the law.
But the laws are only as valuable as the District Attorneys who are elected to enforce them. And Alameda County’s D.A. Nancy O’Malley, who refuses to prosecute police homicides while funding her reelection campaigns with police association dollars, makes this fight a more difficult one.
The question must be asked again, why are police the first responders to mental health crises? Depending on the department, police receive between 8-15 hours of Crisis Intervention Training. To be qualified as a mental health professional, one needs thousands of hours of training. This is why the Anti Police-Terror Project Sacramento launched MH First, a community lead program that responds to mental health crises without law enforcement, and it is why APTP Oakland will be launching a similar program in coming months. Steven Taylor’s murder is just one more example of why the practice of police being used to answer every social need must stop.
Soon after the Anti Police-Terror Project was founded, our first case was that of young mother Guadalupe Manzo Ochoa, a Latina who was shot to death by San Leandro Police in 2014. We see that not much has changed in San Leandro. It is time these police are held accountable for the toxic and murderous culture that cost both Guadalupe Ochoa and Steven Taylor their lives.
City officials, your silence is deafening. District Attorney O’Malley needs to address this immediately, as does San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter and the San Leandro City Council. The current response from San Leandro Councilmember Ed Hernandez, who is up for reelection this November and in whose district this homicide occurred, looks like it was copied and pasted from a public relations handbook. Every death should be considered a tragedy in and of itself, and Ed Hernandez’s failure to see Steven Taylor’s humanity is very telling.
Community, we ask you to look out for any “asks” from Steven Taylor’s family. And we ask you to demand that these city officials immediately address this tragic death.
Justice for Steven Taylor.
Editor’s note: There was a car rally Saturday, April 26 for Justice4StevenTaylor killed by the San Leandro PD last Saturday (April 18th). There were a couple hundred cars out there!!
Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter
Councilmember Deborah Cox
Term Expires 12/2022
Councilmember Ed Hernandez
Term Expires 12/2020
Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr.
Councilmember Benny Lee
Term Expires 12/2020
Councilmember Corina Lopez
Councilmember Pete Ballew
Term Expires 12/2020