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To: California Attorney General Kamala Harris
CA Attorney General Harris: Secure Justice for Yuvette Henderson and Appoint a Special Prosecutor
Black women are the invisible victims of police terror and Alameda County has an exceptional history of discriminatory and violent policing against these victims. Following the killing of Yuvette Henderson by the Emeryville Police Department, it is the obligation of Attorney General Kamala Harris to stand in support of the lives of Black women, who make up nearly 90,000 of the inhabitants of Alameda County. It is her duty to secure justice for Yuvette Henderson and to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her murder.
Join the Anti Police-Terror Project, Yuvette’s family, and the Bay Area community in demanding that a special independent prosecutor be assigned to investigate the police killing of Yuvette Henderson.
Oakland PD is officially investigating the shooting by Emeryville police officers. Because OPD is known to be notoriously violent against people of color, it has been under federal oversight for its misconduct since 2003; hence, a special independent prosecutor is needed.
Furthermore, Michelle Shepherd and Warren Williams, the officers involved in the murder of Yuvette, are still being paid while under investigation. We request that they are put on leave without pay. We demand an additional and just investigation into the killing of Yuvette Henderson by a special independent prosecutor.
Why is this important?
The lives of Black women are consistently devalued, criminalized, and abused by police in the United States. In the case of Yuvette Henderson, this abuse extended to murder. She is not alone; Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones—just to name a few—have all been killed by police.
In the early afternoon of Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old mother of four children and one grandchild, was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on the Oakland-Emeryville border of California.
Officers shot Yuvette Henderson after responding to a report from Home Depot regarding an alleged theft where the suspect appeared to be armed and had suffered a head injury, requesting an ambulance.(1) Eyewitness accounts of the shooting contradict the statements released by Emeryville police. Witnesses say they saw Yuvette with both hands in the air, waving down a bus when she was shot and did not report seeing her with a gun. Police state that they asked Yuvette Henderson to drop her weapon and, when she refused, shot and killed her. Police have never stated that Yuvette Henderson pointed a gun at them. Yuvette Henderson fired no shots.(2)
One of the officers was wearing a body cam at the time, which was turned off during the shooting. He remembered to turn it on AFTER they killed her.(3) Yuvette sustained a head injury while inside Home Depot, yet the events leading up to this incident have been obscured because Home Depot, Oakland PD, and Emeryville PD have refused to release any related video footage. Furthermore, Yuvette was shot within feet of Extra Space Storage’s surveillance cameras, the tapes from which are also being withheld from the public with the police claiming that the surveillance video system in this brand new storage center was “broken” on the day was killed.
Why did Yuvette leave Home Depot with a head injury and what happened during the moments before she was shot by Emeryville Police? What happened in the moments before Yuvette was killed by a military assault rifle? We believe that in order for there to be a just investigation, an independent special prosecutor must be appointed. Oakland PD cannot be responsible for investigating the shooting by Emeryville police officers.
Attorney General Harris has an obligation to affirm that the lives of Black women are valued and to secure justice for Yuvette Henderson.
1. Black Lives Matter activists shut down Emeryville Home Depot for 5 hours, demand answers in police murder of Yuvette Henderson. San Francisco Bay View 2-23-2015
2. "Anti Police-Terror Project Holds Rally and Vigil for Yuvette Henderson" Anti-Police Terror Project 2-20-2015
3. Five Hours for Yuvette Henderson, Gunned Down by Emeryville, CA Police. Daily Kos 2-22-2015