Oakland’s Civil Rights Crusader, John L. Burris, Attorney at Law

Attorney John Burris speaks at his office in Oakland, Calif.,

Whenever some blatant abuse of a person of color’s civil rights occur at the hands of the Oakland Police Dept., Oakland’s own  Attorney John L. Burris is most definitely about to be on the scene.  And when he arrives, look out,  because the honorable Attorney is gunning for the perps.  He doesn’t tolerate police misconduct and violations of citizens’ civil rights very well.  In fact he’s a tireless fighter for the rights of the Oakland’s “minority” people who find themselves the unfortunate victims of Oakland’s more brutal and corrupt police officers.



John L. Burris is the Oakland Bay Area’s premiere civil rights attorney, and our crusader for justice in the the ‘hood.  He has fought numerous civil rights battles for some of the most celebrated sports figures all the way to the most unknown of the regular folks.   Oscar Grant was one of those regular folks that ended up being known world wide because of his brutal victimization by the BART police. 

If you watched any of the endless hours of news footage of Oscar’s case, you may recall the care, respect and protection that Attorney Burris gave to the Oscar Grant family as he guided them through the wrenching process of seeking justice for their murdered son.  He was there with them to deal with the press, and he and his team were at work fighting long and hard for justice for the family.

burris oscargrantfamily bartpressconf
everett jones bbq for CHBA Haiti fundraiser

Attorney Burris has of course fought many other high profile civil rights cases.  Some of the well known people he has represented are: Barry Bonds, Tupac Shakur, Delroy Lindo, Dwayne Wiggins, Keyshawn Johnson, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Latrell Sprewell, Sports Agent Aaron Goodwin and former Chief of Police of San Francisco Earl Sanders and to name of few.  In addition to fighting on the frontlines, Attorney Burris has also been a frequent legal analyst on Oakland’s KTVU Channel 2, and on other networks as well.

Esther Hwang
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Interestingly, I haven’t found huge amounts of information on Attorney Burris, relative to his high profile.  Maybe that speaks to a man who simply does his work without more fanfare than what’s required.  There is an interesting bio of the Attorney at his own website.   I have posted an excerpt here,  with a link for you to continue reading at his own website. 

John L. Burris formed the Law Offices of John L. Burris in 1985, after several years in private practice with the firm Harris, Alexander, and Burris in Oakland, California. He earned a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law – Boalt Hall and MBA from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Business. He is best known for his work in the area of plaintiff’s civil rights over the last 25 plus years and as a legal analyst on Fox, MSNBC, Court TV, CNN and many local television and radio stations. His primary areas of focus for his practice include cases involving police misconduct, employment discrimination and criminal defense. His initial participation with police misconduct issues occurred in April 1979 when he was hired by the Mayor and the City Council of Oakland to conduct an independent investigation into the fatal police shooting of 15-year-old Melvin Black and the entry into the Oakland office of the NAACP by Oakland police officers. He is the author of the book BLUE vs. BLACK: Let’s End the Conflict between Police and Minorities.  Continue reading at his website

In these brutal times we find ourselves in, it’s important to have crusaders for justice such as Attorney John L. Burris.  We need more people who care and who can get results for the cause of social justice.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark says:

    You mentioned that he keeps a low profile… that is his way to ‘keep it real’ and remain humble. I am glad that you have a local icon who is doing his work the old-fashioned way… by DOING WORK!!

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Yes, he seems to be low key to a certain extent. I don’t hear much about him outside of any case that he’s working on. I respect him for that.

  2. Reggie says:

    Nice insightful post!!!

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Thanks Reggie! 🙂

  3. imrereurrere says:

    I need John Burris.He know how to get the job done.I have called the A.C.L.U.,bay area legal aid,attorney referral hot line,victims of crimes etc.Nobody seems to want to help me.Im hoping John Burris reads this personally and feels he is up to a good,slam dunck case.If you read this and feel you are interested in hearing my situation,and could help please contact me at your earliest opportunity.I want to thank you for your time and consideration.Sincerely,Paula P.

  4. Thomas Adams says:

    I am very happy to see you are filing a law suit against the California Highway patrol for making such a blatant attack against a defenseless lady in Los Angeles. I hope this case makes a clear statement against the law enforcement community for such violations against so many of our defenseless citizens. Please feel free to use my name against such abuse that we feel will stop such abuses.
    toom adams

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