Oakland “Flatlands” Create Poor Image For City


The Oakland neighborhood where four police officers were killed last weekend is a world away from other parts of the 56-square-mile city of about 400,000 people of many races and extremely diverse incomes in the shadow of San Francisco, reports the Los Angeles Times. It is this neighborhood and other crime-plagued pockets that have come to create an image of a city that many of its own residents do not recognize and that others know painfully well.

The killings came nearly three months after a videotaped shooting of a black man by a white transit police officer prompted rioting downtown and heightened tensions in East Oakland between African Americans and police. While downtown and some Oakland areas have been improving, little change has come to the East Oakland flatlands, whose predominantly black residents refer to their home as Beirut and “the killing zone.” The city had an estimated 124 homicides last year, most in the flatlands.

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