The bottom line – the police and the mayor in Oakland just don’t give a damn if you live or die.
In the two and half years before a deadly warehouse fire killed 36 people, Oakland police made regular visits to the Ghost Ship artists’ collective.
They investigated an illegal rave, a pistol-whipping incident, thefts, reports of child abuse, a stabbing, threats with guns, drug sales, illegal housing, storing stolen property, allegations of rape, even reports of people barricaded inside.
Records released Wednesday show that police visited the building and associated properties 35 times between mid-2014 and the Dec. 2 fire. Yet never did officers take action to shutter the dangerously cluttered, illegally converted warehouse — or make referrals to other city departments empowered to shut it down.
The new records also show that the city was well familiar with the two-building complex and adjoining vacant lot owned by Chor Ng even before the Ghost Ship came to be: Police, fire, public works and building department employees had visited at least 245 times since 1988, most of them after 2007.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Libby Schaaf said it isn’t the job of police to enforce building codes. “In the instances where officers visited the warehouse … they were on site to deal specifically with the rave and potentially dangerous activities,” Erica Derryck wrote in an email.
Police union President Barry Donelan said cops “are not the code enforcement guys, we are the police, we deal with the immediate problem. The questions for me aren’t in the police department, they are elsewhere in the city.”
It wasn’t until December, after the last of the 36 bodies had been removed from the burned-out hulk, that they took a hard look at the warehouse, records show.
Read the whole pathetic story in the East Bay Times