OAKLAND, Calif. - As city leaders grapple with how to fight crime in Oakland, some former members of the local NAACP are standing firm in their belief that more policing is not the answer.
Some former members, including civil right attorney Walter Riley, are accusing the Oakland branch of endorsing policies that they say are in conflict with the group's values. And he and his supporters called on the national NAACP to "take action."
Riley was joined by Black Business Round Table host Doug Blacksher and local activist Cathy Leonard among others at a news conference Tuesday to "break their silence" on the direction of the Oakland branch, which has openly criticized Mayor Sheng Thao and progressive District Attorney Pamela Price.
Riley and his supporters accused the current leadership of the NAACP of advocating for increased policing and stiffer penalties for criminal defendants, which they described as a "hostile takeover."
"It is shameful that these attacks now continue against a progressive city council, a progressive mayor, and a progressive district attorney who is calling for reforms, who campaigned for reforms, who got voted into office because of the specific reforms she is talking about," Riley said.
He added that "right-wing Republicans are paying for the recall campaign against Pamela Price, and the local chapter is in allegiance with them. That's outrageous."
KTVU reached out to the Oakland NAACP chapter for comment but they did not respond, despite holding a news conference earlier this week.
At that news conference, NAACP president Cynthia Adams and Chinatown leader Carl Chan, among others, criticized the mayor for missing out on state grant money to fight retail theft.
They also called for Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong to be reinstated after Thao fired him in February.
And they again demanded a state of emergency because of Oakland's rising crime rate.