OAKLAND — Calling for a recall and chanting “do your job,” scores of people rallied against District Attorney Pamela Price on Monday outside the Alameda County Superior Courthouse, urging the county’s top prosecutor to end a series of controversial reforms and avoid cutting a plea deal with the men accused of killing a toddler during a freeway shootout.
The crowd of protesters — including one of Price’s own prosecutors — tore into the new district attorney and her decisions over the past three months to suspend several veteran prosecutors and scale back the use of sentencing enhancements in murder and gang-related cases. They also plead with Price to avoid similar moves with the men accused of killing Jasper Wu, who was weeks from his second birthday in November 2021 when a bullet from a freeway gun battle ripped into his mother’s vehicle on Interstate 880, killing him instantly.
Holding signs reading “Justice for Jasper,” the protesters chanted “recall Price” after she released a video days ago stating that “we have not made any decisions about what charges to pursue, or not to pursue” in the case.
The three men arrested in the killing — Johnny Jackson of Richmond; Trevor Green of Richmond; and Ivory Bivins of Vallejo — were arrested in late 2022, during the final weeks of former District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s administration. they were initially charged with special circumstances of murder, making them eligible for sentences of life without paroleif convicted.
Last week, Price cast doubt on whether those charges would remain, while also vowing that the men would be “held accountable.”
“What I saw in that video shocked me — it outraged me,” said Bob Yee, who helped organize the event, along with the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association. “How do you ensure safe streets without safe guards?”
Jasper’s mother called for each suspect in her boy’s death to be “justly and severely” punished with the “maximum sentencing available under the law,” according to a text message from the boy’s mother that was read during the rally by Stewart Chen, president of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council.
“I’m very sad and angry,” said the mother’s text, as read by Chen. “What happened to Jasper was not fair. And we want justice for our son.” She added: “I am extremely worried about Jasper’s case and the direction it might go.”
The protest marked the largest sign of discontent with Price since she took office in January. It comes less than a week after she defended her handling of an unusual plea deal in the case of Delonzo Logwood, whose 15-year plea deal in three murder cases was thrown out by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Mark McCannon for being too lenient. Price has since moved to disqualify McCannon from any cases filed by her office.
The relatives of multiple other murder cases currently being handled by Price’s office also spoke against the new district attorney, including the wife of a former San Jose police officer who was gunned down while working as a security guard for a news crew in downtown Oakland.
“You talk about compassion, right? Where is the compassion to these families who have to endure this pain for the rest of their lives,” said Barbara Nguyen, whose brother David Nguyen — an Alameda County sheriff’s recruit — was fatally shot in early 2022 near the Bay Bridge toll plaza. “When I think about justice, I think about fairness — I think about accountability over leniency.”
In a statement from her office after the protest, Price vowed to be transparent about the case and expressed empathy with Wu’s family about the “horrific” killing.
“The District Attorney’s Office has not made any decisions regarding the charges in the murder of Jasper Wu,” the statement said. “We gave this information directly to Jasper’s parents last week. We will continue to review the case, and will make decisions directly according to the evidence.”
Speaking before the crowd, Butch Ford, a 23-year prosecutor with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office who was placed on paid administrative leave shortly after Price took office, railed against the new district attorney‘s policies.
He said that the prosecutor handling Wu’s case had recently been reassigned from the case — a similar move to other cases where the defendants were later offered plea deals with reduced prison time.
“When you commit a crime, and you hurt people, you should pay,” Ford said. “Pamela Price disagrees with that lesson. This is about the rights of victims.”
At one point during the rally, a man with a bullhorn yelled from a nearby street that the rally appeared to be an “attack on Black leadership.” The man’s voice was quickly drowned out by chants from Price’s opponent, who held signs with Jasper Wu’s name and yelled back that “he’s a baby.”
Among the people protesting Price’s actions was Mayor Lily Mei of Fremont.
“What we’re hearing from the community is an outcry to ensure that our community members are feeling safe,” Mei said afterward. “What we’re seeing today, (it feels) like the families are not feeling like their voices are being heard.”
- Akron police detail Jayland Walker firing shot after footage released
- Pages From Brian Laundrie's Notebook Released From Lawyer – CBS Tampa
- Houston County DA's office speaks on crime in Warner Robins
- Attorneys for Trump in New Mexico confront new scrutiny | Govt-and-politics
- Hickory attorney discusses client's DWI acquittal, Cody says lawyers help keep prosecutors, law officers accountable | Crime News