Oakland Police arrested two volunteers serving unhousing residents at encampments, last Thursday night.
Eyewitnesses said police drew guns on two people, identified as Yanna and Akil, outreach workers with The Village in Oakland. The Village is a collective that partners with curbside communities (aka homeless encampments) in Oakland.
In a statement published on Indybay, Yanna said, “We are essential workers on the frontlines. We were serving our fellow unhoused Oakland residents before COVID-19, during COVID-19 and we will be here after COVID-19.” The two spent that day distributing food, water, and other supplies to unhoused Oakland residents.
Oakland Police told journalist Darwin BondGraham that Akil “matched the description” of someone wanted for a shooting suspect. OPD was mistaken. Advocates for unhoused residents believe Akil was racially profiled. Yanna added, “We want attention to be brought to how OPD and the government continues to terrorize Black and unhoused leaders. ” He was booked at Santa Rita Jail and released.