Oakland to consider cutting ties with FBI task force

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A surge in violence in East Oakland has pushed homicide and shooting numbers up 46% over this time last year.

The city has already seen 80 people killed this year, five more than in all of last year. Two people were killed and three others injured in attacks over the weekend that followed a triple shooting earlier last week.

"If we want there to be less shootings, we have to press down on illegal guns," said city council member Rebecca Kaplan, who will introduce a proposal to have police focus on tracking where these illegal guns are coming from at an upcoming meeting.

Kaplan said the city’s police force has the technology to track shell casings and guns used in these shootings, they just need the staff to do it.

"We need to fill these positions and make sure we are tracking the sources of illegal guns and putting illegal gun dealers out of business."

She is proposing police re-order its priorities to these weapons, which will also mean disassociating from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kaplan said the task force has been unfairly profiling members of the community and recommends cutting ties in a separate proposal.

"ATF on guns or the FBI task force on sexually exploited minors, none of that is being proposed to be stopped," she said. "The only piece that is being proposed to be stopped is the specific issue of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. San Francisco has already cut ties with them."

But police union president Barry Donlan said the task force provides necessary support.

"We have so few officers for the demand for service and we need help from other agencies all around us. And I don’t think terminating those relationships is a good idea, especially in an environment where we are facing such violence,” said Donlan. "The JTTF is one of those task forces that provide officers from other agencies and the FBI to Oakland when we in fact need them."

Kaplan will introduce both proposals at a city council meeting Tuesday.