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Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts MLK Speech - Aimee Allison/OaklandSeen

Yesterday, the new Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts set himself apart from other lawmen. He's been making the rounds in community meetings throughout the city, but yesterday he spoke of his life mission and love of young people. In his passionate and charming talk as keynote for the Martin Luther King community celebration at the Taylor United Methodist Church in West Oakland, he spoke with honesty about his difficult upbringing in South Central Los Angeles, losing a young person on the streets of Long Beach, and finding the answer to the question"God, why am I here"? The crowd of 1000 got on their feet when he asked people to take a pledge to do anything it takes to prevent violence like the kind that paralyzed Christopher Rodriquez (who was in the audience). He asked the crowd, "What would you do if failure wasn't an option" and rejected the complacency and numbness that seems to follow violent street crimes.

Could the police department finally have the kind of leader that will transform the conversation and reality of crime in Oakland?

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts on MLK Day from OaklandSeen on Vimeo.

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