Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown addresses anti-police brutality protests for first time

This Aug. 20, 2014 file photo several hundred demonstrators march through Oakland, Calif. protesting the police shooting of unarmed black 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The San Francisco Bay Area's three largest police unions publish an "open letter" saying recent the anti-police rhetoric demonstrations have reached dangerous levels.
This Aug. 20, 2014 file photo several hundred demonstrators march through Oakland, Calif. protesting the police shooting of unarmed black 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The San Francisco Bay Area's three largest police unions publish an "open letter" saying recent the anti-police rhetoric demonstrations have reached dangerous levels. AP

In his first public comments on anti-police brutality protests in Oakland and around the country, Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday that the nation has made progress on race relations since the 1960s but that “we still have issues” of disparities.

Brown, a fourth term Democrat, said at a news conference at the Capitol that he recently reviewed the Kerner report, the product of a commission appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to study the causes of rioting in urban America in the 1960s.

“In there, there’s a lot to be said about the divisions in our society, the racial disparities and divisions,” Brown said.

He said, “I’d say we’ve made progress, but we still have issues, and these expressions ... on the part of people in Oakland and all over the country, it’s a feeling that there’s a lot to be done.”

Brown’s added, “That’s a concern of mine.”

Brown, the former mayor of Oakland, had previously declined to comment on the protests, even as they flared in his home city.

Following grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, protesters in Oakland and Berkeley blocked freeways, smashed windows and chained themselves to a police headquarters’ doors.

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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