Twenty year old Raheim Brown was killed by Oakland Unified School District Police Officer Sgt. Barhin Bhatt on January 22, 2011. Bhatt shot Brown seven times including twice in the head.
The fatality occurred while Brown sat in the passenger seat of a car with Tamisha Stewart outside a dance near Skyline High School. Sgt. Bhatt reported that Brown attempted to stab his partner, Sgt. Jonathan Bellusa, with a screwdriver. Bellusa reported that after the first two shots, Brown was "no longer a threat." Bhatt continued firing rounds that tragically ended Brown's life.
-The San Francisco Bay Gaurdian Online- reported, that Bellusa "felt pressure by supervisors to make statements consistent with Bhatt's account of the shooting, Bellusa stated, "I have felt that if I gave statements that went against the district that I would be thrown in jail for perjury." Bellusa sued the OUSD Police Department. The case ended in a $550,000 settlement in Bellusa's favor.
The circumstances of Brown's death caused outrage in the community and created serious concerns about the presence of Sgt. Bhatt in Oakland schools. It also appears that the police have infulence over school curriculum. At the request of the OUSD Police Department, the school district removed Urban Dreams, a compilation of social justice lesson plans, from its website. Ironically, the OUSD Police Department was established to enforce "resorative justice."
The question remains how OUSD can sustain an independent police department while the district faces budget cuts and school closures.
Sgt. Bhatt was not indicted for Brown's murder and he continues to work for the OUSD Police Department. Lori Davis, Brown’s mother said, “You are letting this man get away with murder.” Sgt. Bellusa retired.
Brown parents and Ladonna Smith, mother of Brown's then un-born child, filed a lawsuit againt the OUSD Police. They will each receive $497,500.