Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The Oakland Police Department's War on Citizens

Oakland's police chief Anthony Batts resigned a couple weeks ago, because, when he wasn't busy applying for other jobs, he was busy trying to turn Oakland into a police state, and that mean old City Council wouldn't let him. His approach to policing was that crime would stop if you instituted a curfew for young people and if you could immediately arrest anyone found "loitering" anywhere in Oakland. Also, a decade on, he and his predecessors still couldn't enforce court-ordered changes to the police department arising from the sensational "Oakland Riders" trials, which also ended in zero convictions of police but a $10 million settlement to 119 different plaintiffs. The court supervision agreement includes not very outlandish things like "Improved reporting and investigation of use of force by officers." Apparently that is not something that can happen in ten years. Longtime department member Howard Jordan took over as chief—for the second time, as retention of chiefs has become a problem for what is an extraordinarily troubled police department. And then, last night happened.

The routing of Occupy Oakland began early in the morning yesterday and continued into the night, with protesters trying to retake Frank Ogawa Plaza (or, as Occupy Oakland quite properly calls it, Oscar Grant Plaza).

Later today, Occupy Oakland will retake the plaza, despite promised further violent tactics by the Oakland Police Department, including beanbag bullets, teargas and possibly even a sound cannon. This unbelievably strong-armed approach is both completely inappropriate and completely in keeping with the history of policing strategies of Oakland. Also par for the course: lying about what happened afterward.

Mayor Jean Quan, whose statement Tuesday morning was "We want to thank the police, fire, public works and other employees who worked over the last week to peacefully close the encampment," was in D.C. yesterday, lobbying for money for the port of Oakland, while the encampment was being not at all peacefully closed. Meanwhile, reversals happened in Atlanta and Baltimore, where Occupy encampments were raided by police.

Since the newspapers tend to show Oakland's riot cops petting kittens (LITERALLY, at the Washington Post), consider keeping an eye on Oakland North, Bay Citizen and Awl pal Susie Cagle.

Photo by Occupy Oakland.

19 Comments / Post A Comment

Multiphasic (#411)

Best Lie in Show, That's Not How Humans Work Division: the OPD's claim that the occupiers tear-gassed them first.

Mr. B (#10,093)

Are Hamas-esque bandanas over the face becoming a thing all of a sudden? Or is that just an Oakland trend?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@Mr. B Pretty sure the bandana is a good way to get to know tear gas less well.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Mr. B It's the tear gas that's an Oakland trend.

@Mr. B I've seen bandannas at every Bay Area protest I've ever been to, going to back to the first Iraq protests. Have seen them in New York, too. It's often the anarchists.

hockeymom (#143)

The local media coverage of this should be interesting. I watched footage last night where the photographers/producers/reporters got caught by the tear gas. They were not happy. My guess is that the pros will be back out there, no matter what happens.

iantenna (#5,160)

@hockeymom listening to kqed's "forum" on the drive to work this morning was a huge bummer. michael krasny, normally a dude i love, was doing everything in his power to get his guests to agree that there was a violent faction of protesters that really started everything last night, which all reports outside of the OPD, city council, and mayor's office, claim is just not the case. he was really trying to drive home that there's a huge divide between the "career protesters" and the "regular folks" from occupy oakland.

in Oakland (#166,915)

Yes, please do read the coverage from Oakland North, whose reporters were on the ground and not just constructing an article from the most sensationalistic tweets (hint: the "sound cannon" was the OPD PA truck. While loud, it is not a very effective weapon).

And sorry, I have lived in Oakland for a decade and photos of OPD petting cats is not the norm.

@in Oakland : Granted, I'm not on the ground there so I can't speak to its deployment, but the Oakland PD does possess an LRAD, or Long-Range Acoustic Device, a "less than lethal" crowd-control weapon. These devices can and do cause permanent damage; they're qualitatively different from a PA truck in design and capabilities.

vozomdn (#166,923)

Is that just an Oakland trend?

roboloki (#1,724)

waiting for opd's claim that the protesters actually caused the financial meltdown of '08.

keisertroll (#1,117)

@roboloki It was all that hangin' with Mr. Cooper that sunk us.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@roboloki For a while the think tanks tried to blame the people who took out mortgages, so.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@dntsqzthchrmn They're not still doing that?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@boyofdestiny They've been trying but no one's buying. Even think tanks get bored eventually.

tigolbitties (#2,150)

What did the (currently not working) facebook link say?

iantenna (#5,160)

i've never felt more shame for the votes i've cast than i do this morning. shame on mayor quan, and shame on me for thinking she was a better choice than the scumbag don perata.

laclabra@twitter (#90,640)

But didn't you guys read the caption on the linked cop-kitty story? The protesters LEFT BEHIND A KITTY. TEH MONSTERS.

Komenter (#195,197)

Also keep in mind that the marches were allowed and even endorsed by the City of Oakland. At issue was the overnight camping in a public plaza.

Post a Comment