Oakland's Police Chief Wants to Bring Community Together to Fight Gun Violence

Some community members are unsure about how helping police would actually improve the safety of city residents

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The city of Oakland has achieved the tragic milestone of 69 homicides so far, double the amount of homicides this time last year.

In response, Oakland's Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong is calling for a rally to bring community together and stand against gun violence.

The question is if the message of solidarity will reach those community members who need to hear it the most.

"I don’t want to solve all the problems by myself," Chief Armstrong said. "I want to hear from community. I want them to be a part of this solution."

Chief Armstrong will hold a rally Saturday at Lake Merritt to talk to community about the ongoing violence and ideas to prevent it.

But for people like violence interrupter Michael Muscadine, the issue has many more layers to it.

"I might stop by. I might not. But there’s a lot of work that’s still happening here on the ground in my community," Muscadine said.

Muscadine carries many titles that include violence interrupter, community healer and he's also a subcontractor of Oakland's Department of Violence Prevention.

"This is not a 9 to 5. This is 24/7," he explained. "We get calls 12 o’ clock at night with young folks, adults that are stressing even after a homicide or after a shooting. Folks don’t talk about the aftermath of the shooting."

Muscadine said violence interrupters stand too much to lose if they help police make arrests.

"We have to have that community’s trust, love and respect," he said. "If I start working with police, then that’s all out the door and they put my life on the line."

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