Photo: Elliot Milner, Attorney at Law
Many of us have read about the traumatic beating of a woman in broad daylight in an Oakland beauty salon. The woman chose not to testify, in part because she feared retaliation from her attackers. The protection of witnesses is a serious issue and solutions are necessary. Elliot Milner, an attorney, had this to say:
“This is a complicated issue, and there is no easy solution. Most police departments only provide protection in the most extreme cases, and this is usually a very rare occurrence. I am a proponent of self-help. I'm not speaking about vigilante justice, simply saying that if people in urban(and any other) communities want to make sure that their neighbors who speak out against those who commit crimes are not harmed, then it is necessary for people in the community to take the initiative to let it be known that they will not tolerate harm being done to innocent citizens who simply seek to have those doing wrong held accountable.
I completely understand that is easier said than done. However, community intervention is a must. The police(in Oakland or any other city/town) are not going to protect you. Even if they have the desire to, most police departments do not have the funding or personnel to accomplish that. In several cities, groups of men in urban communities have taken to policing the streets of their neighborhoods. It is imperative that people in the community show that they are not afraid and will not be imprisoned in their own homes, as is the case in some neighborhoods. Also, participating in dialogue with individuals who may be "in the street" or committing crimes is a must. The more you isolate a person or group of people, the more likely they are to react negatively to you.”