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Raheim Brown,
Oakland , California
January 22, 2011

Agencies: Oakland Unified School District Police Department

Last updated: 7 months ago

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On Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 a 20-year-old Raheim Brown was shot and killed by the Oakland Unified School District’s police force outside Skyline High School. Police statements and media have reported that Brown tried to stab an officer with a screwdriver, and a second officer shot Brown five times – once in each arm, once in his chest and twice in his head – in defense of his partner.

On Thursday, Feb. 3, outside the OUSD headquarters, Brown’s mother, Lori Davis, spoke at a press conference. Calling the killing an “assassination,” she was horrified by the excessive use of force by school police officers. Davis believes that Sgts. Barhim Bhatt and Jonathan Bellusa, the two cops identified at the press conference as the two involved in Brown’s killing, should “never to be able to work in another police department ever.”

Tamisha Stewart, the only civilian witness to the killing, who was in a car with Brown outside Skyline High, spoke for the first time publicly about the event. The screwdriver Brown was accused of using as a weapon, according to Stewart, was being used in an attempt to hotwire the car, and it “never left the ignition.”

While hotwiring a car might be cause for police attention, it is not cause for five bullets, including two to the head. Stewart added, “There was nothing that Raheim did that he deserved to die.” According to statements at the press conference, after Brown was killed, Stewart was beaten badly and jailed for almost a week.

According to From Report Card to Criminal Record: The Impact of Policing Oakland Youth, in 2013 the City of Oakland and Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) provided funding for six times more police officers and school security guards in Oakland schools than school counselors. This means Oakland students don’t have help working through conflicts or proactively learning how to improve behavior. Instead, problems traditionally dealt with by counselors and other school officials end up in the hands of law enforcement. This results in harsh discipline practices like arrests and referrals into the criminal justice system for ordinary day-to-day disciplinary infractions.

Legal Action Help icon

October 2013 Settlement $995,000

Community and Family Efforts Help icon

August 2011 Disarm school police rally

August 2013 Rally

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