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Police Killing of Nathaniel Wilks Re-Ignite Protests in Oakland

Screenshot 2015-08-15 at 5.34.09 PMWednesday afternoon, a 27 year old man was shot by Oakland police following a pursuit and alleged carjacking attempt in West Oakland. Alameda County Coroner’s Office identified 27-year-old Nathaniel Wilks as the  suspect involved in the fatal shooting. After Wilks was shot, he was later taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

The police chase originally started when officers claim to have spotted what they believed to have been a stolen car. Officers attempted to pull the driver over, but Wilks fled the scene, resulting in a full-on police chase complete with helicopter tracking and lasted roughly seven miles until the man crashed into another car on 27th Street between Northgate Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

According to the police account, the man allegedly ran from the car (allegedly armed with a gun) and tried to carjack another driver. As police ran up, there was a confrontation with the suspect – according to some news accounts at least one officer opened fire, while other accounts state that all three officers opened fire. (We will let you decide what you think is more likely to have occurred until more information is released from more reliable sources.)

Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent claimed that three officers were involved in the incident during a press conference on Wednesday (a seven-year veteran of the force, a six-year veteran, and  a one-year “veteran”). The suspect was shot down and taken to a hospital, where he later died tragically, while none of the officers were injured. An Oakland Police Department Representative could not say whether the suspect fired his gun during the confrontation, but said a gun believed (by the police) to be the suspect’s was recovered at the scene.


*eyewitness accounts via Twitter tell a different story:


A large group protesting Wednesday’s fatal officer-involved shooting in Oakland marched for hours Wednesday and Friday in order to raise awareness of the tragic incident and yet another Black life taken by police. On Wednesday,  traffic was briefly stopped on Interstate 980  in Oakland just after 10 p.m.  Police came shortly after to clear the protesters off I-980 and 27th street off-ramp, and subsequently a police line blocked protesters from going back onto the off-ramp.

The group started their protest at 7 p.m. at the intersection of 27th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, where the shooting occurred  hours before. Protesters then marched for hours towards downtown and circled back to the same intersection where they began, the majority of which was peaceful.



On Friday’s protest, about 150 arrived to where Wilks was shot, according to ABC7 News, including Wilks’ girlfriend and infant daughter.

When speaking with ABC7, Black Lives Matter leader and activist Cat Brooks spoke of the differences in how law enforcement handles white and minority suspects.

“White folks with guns are considered mentally unstable, ‘Let’s call a mental health team, Let’s talk them down.’ Brothers and sisters with guns? It’s shoot first and interrogate and investigate later, and that’s unacceptable.”

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Being raised in New England, the west coast has always felt like a breath of progressive, laid-back, open-minded, fashion-forward air to my free-spirited soul, which is what drew me to California. Escaping the more cookie-cutter traditional white picket fence life, has led me on an adventurous journey toward self-love and acceptance, and ultimately body positivity! I am in Oakland, because I moved to the Bay Area for graduate school to become a licensed Somatic Psychotherapist, and after exploring different city options, I discovered that the eclectic, unique, and honest vibe of Oakland resonated with my funky spirit and style! My role in WYV as Senior Columnist is producing weekly articles on Body Positive Fashion, Fat Acceptance, and many of my other passions such as social justice, childcare, and chronic illness advocacy. Of course I'm constantly being inspired by my very diverse (fashionably and otherwise) Oakland peers, local business owners, and fat/body positive activists! Come follow my photographic adventures on my instagram: @somewhere_under_the_rainbow

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