Public Defenders Teach Oakland Youth How to Safely Interact With Police
When two public defenders in their high-powered courtroom outfits enter an 11th-grade history class at Oakland Tech, there’s tension in the air.
Students whisper, “Are they cops?” And they relax when they realize, no, they’re lawyers.
If Brendon Woods and Jennie Otis have their way, they’ll be role models, too.
The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office is teaching kids in area high schools about their rights and how to interact safely with police.
The county’s first-of-its-kind program is gaining traction after recent protests against police brutality and racial profiling.
“Good morning, My name is Brendon Woods, Jennie’s boss,” Woods says, introducing himself to the class as Alameda County’s first African-American public defender.
“We’re here to talk to you about L.Y.R.I.C.”