Alameda County Sheriff's Office Controversial Retweet of White Supremacist Sparks Protest

The retweet is the latest in what the groups say is a string of racist comments and actions involving the Alameda County Sheriff's Office

Immigrant rights groups held a protest Wednesday in response to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office retweet Monday night of a video posted by white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Groups including the Asian Law Caucus and the California Immigrant Policy Center gathered at 5:30 p.m. at the sheriff's office at 1401 Lakeside Drive in Oakland.

The retweet is the latest in what the groups say is a string of racist comments and actions involving the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, including Sheriff Greg Ahern's signing of a letter on behalf of the California State Sheriffs' Association endorsing Jeff Session's nomination as U.S. attorney general. 

Criticism for the Alameda County Sheriff’s office after it retweeted a white supremacist news conference on Twitter. Bob Redell reports.

On Tuesday, Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly apologized for the retweet of the prominent white supremacist and said it was accidental.

Kelly said he was researching Spencer because he is a "focal point" of a right-wing rally planned in Berkeley on Aug. 27. He even requested the Sheriff's Office IT department to help him delete the retweet.

Protesters on Wednesday said they want to see the e-mails or call records to prove Kelly requested help.

During the demonstration, one of the organizers handed an envelope to a deputy who was standing guard on the front steps. Inside the envelope, a public records request about the controversial retweet.

"We want to find out how that happened, why it happened," said Saira Hussein with the Asian Law Caucus Attorney. "We need transparency and accountability from this department."

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office has 10 business days to respond to the public records request filed by organizers.

Before the retweet incident, protest organizers planned a demonstration calling Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern to task for his past support of United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"What kind of correspondence has the Sheriff's Department been having with the Trump administration?" asked Jon Rodney with the California Immigrant Policy Center. "And with anti-immigrant forces. So we want to uncover the truth."

The group is also pushing for Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act. If passed, it would restrict local law enforcement agencies from communicating with Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents.

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Oakland is the county seat of Alameda County in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The county is one of the most diverse in the nation with no majority racial or ethnic group. 

Bay City News contributed to this story.

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