Alameda’s Crown Beach tragedy: community gets answers

On Tuesday night, during the City Council meeting to receive and discuss the tragedy that ended with the death of Raymond Zack, after 9 Alamedans stood and asked questions about (or in some cases called into question) the independent report produced by Ruben Grijalva. After the public comment was complete, Alameda City Manager, John Russo directed a Q&A with Grijalva to try and get at the root of the issues that the community had raised. The 8 minute discussion is must-see for anyone who was wondering whether the city and Grijalva would respond to community questions about the information in the report.

Through the entire night, Grijalva made the extremely convincing point that at the time, public safety people felt they were dealing with a suicidal man who was standing in the water with plenty of time before exposure would lead him to harm, and had a rational expectation that the proper equipment to help with the situation was just minutes away.

His report did not excuse the tragic result of Zack’s death, in fact it highlighted a number of failures that contributed to Zack not being saved. Watching his entire presentation, while certainly not exhilarating, would be well worth the time of anyone curious about what actually occurred on Memorial Day at Crown Beach.

Most moving that night was Zack’s foster-mom, Denise Berry, who is clearly (and understandably) still upset by the incident, saying that all she wants is for the city to fix the problems that led to this misfortune, and that she felt that the report did a good job of identifying the issues, and that the City is making strides towards fixing them.

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