Oakland activist claims he was threatened, racially profiled by security guards

Bay Area

OAKLAND (KRON) — An Oakland man says two security guards racially profiled him this week.

Oakland city planner and activist Kenya Wheeler said two guards outside of a new upscale apartment complex pointed a gun at him for no reason.

New details have unveiled that the security company involved in the dispute has now been fired by the apartment complex’s management group.

While taking pictures of bike racks, Wheeler said he was approached and threatened by two security guards, one pointing a gun at him.

“It was frightening, troubling and sad,” he said.

The Wednesday night dispute happened at the Alexan Webster apartments near downtown Oakland. 

As the city’s chairman of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Commission, Wheeler said he wanted to showcase the fruits of their labor.

“I started taking pictures as like a transportation planner as a lover of cities, that’s something I do regularly as I travel across America or as I go to other countries even,” he said.

Instead — as seen in video shot by Wheeler — the complex’s security guards accuse Wheeler of casing cars to break into.

The second guard heard speaking upholstered his gun, according to Wheeler.

“A handgun being drawn is to me an indication that you know your life is at risk,” he said.

Wheeler said the guards wanted to call police. 

He was fine with that but felt increasingly concerned that he was being unfairly detained by the guards.

Once OPD arrived, Wheeler said they resolved the situation.

The apartment manager also told him the guards were being more aggressive because of residents’ concerns about recent break-ins. 

“I can understand being aggressive, but threatening someone with a gun,” he said.

A spokesman for Alexan Webster told KRON4 News that the guards should have never confronted Wheeler because he was on a public sidewalk.

They have since changed security providers because of this.  

Wheeler said as more upscale apartments go up in Oakland, hired security should have better training for interacting with people in the neighborhood.

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