oakland misses the mark


[Audio: random noises, words, etc.] By the way, the unconscious person seen above? Occupy Oakland: Iraq war veteran in critical condition after police clashes.

From Oakland PD: “During the evening protest, a number of officers were assaulted, doused with hazardous materials and hit with large rocks and bottles, which resulted in the declaration of an unlawful assembly and the order to disperse. To assist in the dispersal efforts, officers used less lethal force tactics.

At approximately 10:00pm this evening, a group of approximately 300 protesters in the area of Frank Ogawa Plaza began throwing large rocks and bottles at officers after receiving the order to disperse, which again prompted the use of less than lethal munitions.”

Examination of this clip shows that those definitely are NOT bean bags, and those were fired into a crowd trying to help an unconscious person on the ground. I have yet to see any clips showing any rocks thrown at the PD. To make things worse, it’s clear that the pre-dawn raid was accompanied by an order to the local media to stop reporting and filming — which orders they complied with (Police Censor The Media As They Unleash Devastating Force On Occupy Oakland). I don’t need to quote the First Amendment here, do I?

This isn’t indicative of all PD, of course — in other places they have worked very well with the protesters (particularly LA!). But might I suggest that the Marines consider concentrating some supporters/help in Oakland?

I’ve found more information, from Mother Jones, on what was possibly going on:

On his way to a local hospital to confirm injury reports, James ran into a knot of exhausted Oakland cops heading back to the station. They were covered in blue and orange paint, and that’s not all, claimed one sergeant who wouldn’t give his name. They’d also been pelted with glass and vinegar, and one officer tasted urine in the mix. “Occupy Oakland is no longer playing a part in this protest,” said the sergeant, suggesting that rogue actors took control of the movement tonight.

But interestingly the sentiment seems to be overwhelmingly against the municipal government and the police. It seems to me if there were agent provocateurs in the crowd to provoke precisely this, then something else needs to be done: isolation and roundup of solely the AP’s (clearly for example, the crowd assisting the unconscious person were not directing hostilities at the police) — and it would have been brilliant if both OWS-Oakland and the OPD had collaborated to do so — but it looks like the police decided to react indiscriminately instead. My biggest question is if there were AP’s planted in the crowd, then by whom? The OPD? Some other group?

In any case, despite the possible AP presence, public sentiment has been overwhelmingly against the mayor and the police. To wit, not only has the mayor’s Facebook page been inundated with protests at the actions, this article (Occupy Oakland: Mayor Jean Quan in Big Trouble After Riot) indicates a recall effort, already underway, picking up some major steam in the aftermath. And the city’s denizens aren’t too happy either: Occupy Oakland protesters braced for further violence.

(I want to point out that I saw the number of comments on the Oakland Mayor’s facebook status jump from ~2000 to over ~5000 in a few hours. Whoa.)

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