Oakland Police Slapped for Militarized Response to Protesters


Does anybody else feel conflicted about our use of such disproportionate-- Whoah! It's like whack-a-mole!

The Oakland, California Police Department has been under formal court scrutiny ever since a 2003 settlement in a civil rights lawsuit, and as bad as the organization has been in improving its conduct since then, its performance against Occupy Oakland protesters leaves federal monitors "thoroughly dismayed." That's the short and not-so-sweet version of the latest quarterly report on the troubled police department. Head monitor Robert Warshaw wrote that officers unnecessarily wielded "an overwhelming military-type response" against demonstrators, and fired beanbags at Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, causing him a brain injury.

Reports the San Francisco Chronicle:

Warshaw said Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, who suffered a brain injury during an Occupy protest Oct. 25, had been shot with a beanbag by an Oakland SWAT officer. Several other police agencies were assisting Oakland that night, and it has been unclear who fired the object.

Warshaw said green residue on Olsen's hat matched the dye left by Oakland SWAT team beanbags, and noted that as Olsen lay wounded on the ground, another officer lobbed a tear gas canister into a crowd of people helping him. Neither officer was named in the report.

Videos of some police actions during Occupy protests "are concerning as to the manner in which non-deadly munitions were utilized," wrote Warshaw, a former police chief of Rochester, N.Y., and deputy drug czar under President Bill Clinton.

The City of Oakland put a positive spin on the report, which perhaps reflects what counts as good news in the place where there's no there. Said the city in a press release (PDF):

"OPD has turned the corner, "said Police Chief Howard Jordan, "and our new, more collaborative relationship with the Monitor and plaintiffs' attorneys will soon bear results in compliance findings. My vision is to make Oakland one of the safer major cities in California; achieving compliance with the NSA will enhance this vision."

Perhaps anticipating a little negative fallout from the latest report, Oakland also announced, last week, newer and shinier crowd-control measures (PDF), promising, "[t]he Chief acknowledged how it is the Department's duty to protect public safety, and at the same time balance the free speech rights of individual protestors with the rights of non-protesting residents."

Hey, it's a slow process. Sometmes it takes nine years for things to gel.

While the latest report isn't yet online at the Oakland Website, it should eventually reside here, along with many other fascinating documents about the state of law enforcement in Oakland.

Reason has published, as you might expect, a scary amount of material on the subject of militarized policing.


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  1. fap

    1. This ^

  2. Time to start spinning off the less productive states in the nation. We need to start with the upper eastern seaboard and the west coast.

    1. Your regional collectivism is as tired as always.

      1. I orginally proposed that the states comprising the Louisiana Purchase should secede from the union. But I am not willing to take everything west of the Appalachians and east of the Rockies.

        1. now willing

  3. Imagine a world where someone doesn’t have to get a traumatic brain injury for a policy to be formulated where giving someone traumatic brains injuries is something to be avoided.

    Yeah, I can’t imagine it either.

  4. http://www.cnbc.com/id/47248701

    Whereas the OWS crowd proclaimed “we are the 99 Percent” and “banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” a band of construction workers delivered chants of their own.

    “Get-a-job! Get-a-job!” several workers atop a work site repeatedly hollered.

    “Get a job! Stop wasting the cops’ time!” yelled another, reffering to the large detail of officers clad in riot gear that accompanied the Occupy procession.

    “Occupy my bALLS!” another offered.

    They were similiar exchanges with more colorful language such as…well, you can imagine what happens once a group of construction workers meets up with a band of raggedy-attired anti-capitalists.


    a contrasting view from another citizen…

    “I respect them, I love them,” gushed Lisa Coleman, a worker with the Service Employees International Union 1199

    SHOCKED… that someone who thinks ‘jobs’ means taking shit from productive people, and giving it to politicial cronies…means something different?

    The whole OWS message has boiled down to… “THEY GOTS OUR MONIES AND WE WANTSS!!”

    1. But such were the ups and downs of Occupy Wall Street’s May Day demonstration, which certainly found its fair share of support around the bustling rain-drenched metropolis, but had trouble living up to the advance billing.

      The idea was to organize a general strike of workers, students and virtually anyone else who wanted to join in the year-old broadside OWS has leveled against the evils of corporate greed and political corruption.

      The fuck?

      OWS hasn’t accomplished shit. They can’t even get large numbers to come out for an event planned months in advance. Unions declined to attend. How does NBC deduce that they’ve leveled a broadside “against the evils of corporate greed and political corruption?”

    2. “I respect them, I love them,” gushed Lisa Coleman, a worker with SEIU 1199
      Yeah, I liked that one too. Nothing as compelling as a “gushing” endorsement from a SEIU shill. That ought to lend some credibility to a flailing movement with fading support.

  5. Please ferchrissakes stop with the Gertrude Stein reference. It’s an instant marker of cliche writing when the subject is Oakland.

    1. Just … can’t … resist.

  6. I will love the police as they kick the shit out of me in the streets.

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