Occupy Oakland: video shows police officer throwing "flash grenade" into crowd trying to help injured protester

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121 Responses to “Occupy Oakland: video shows police officer throwing "flash grenade" into crowd trying to help injured protester”

  1. imag says:

    You have to wonder what the officer was thinking there.

    I do have to say, the “Occupy” fist at the end of the vid came across to me as pretty shameless and inappropriate.

    • gamagma says:

      Leave space for speculation on an officer’s violent behavior and merely wonder “what the officer was thinking here.” Find a logo as “shameless and inappropriate.”

      Douchebag!

  2. Spocko says:

    This is really important footage. Thank you Matt Kresling for putting it together and Xeni for running it. This is exactly the kind of analysis that we can now do at home using the tools that the people in the 1960′s didn’t have. This video is important because it is proof that the Oakland Police spokespeople are lying.

    Now when the media run a story quoting the police they should also mention this incident in which they clearly provided incorrect information.

    What will the police say now in light of this video? My guesses?

    1) Claim it was “some other agency” -technically correct. They believe it will get them off the hook. The media follow up question should be, “Who is the other agency? Did they have a different commander that gave them different rules? Can we talk to that commander?
    2) Call the toss a mistake from “a few bad apples” who wasn’t following protocol.  This was of course the excuse used in Abu Ghraib about the wide spread use of torture.
    3) Walk back the statement about flashbangs blame the “misstatement” on lack of communication from the “troops on the ground” with the official spokesperson.

    My  money is on a combination of all three. Watch for it.

    I hope to see more video analysis like this!

    UPDATE: I just edited my comment. It is quite possible that the spokesperson is lying. More likely they were kept in the dark on purpose or did not communicate with all the various agencies. I shouldn’t attribute to malfeasance what is probably lack of information. That said, I hope that the media will ask them, in light of this, to talk about their use of these items in the protests and who made the decision to use them.

  3. demidan says:

    Rubber bullets and flash bangs DO NOT belong in a Peaceful American demonstration!  They don’t belong in ANY Peaceful demonstration!  Both can be lethal and the last time I heard the Constitution belongs to 100% of Americans and not just the 1%~!

  4. Guest says:

    Tear gas and rubber bullets are much bigger news when they’re in the West Bank.

    What’s up US media?

  5. Mark_Frauenfelder says:

    The police officer must be shaking in his boots right now, thinking about the potential loss of vacation days he faces as punishment for tossing an explosive into a group of peaceful people trying to help an injured man.

    • Spocko says:

      They could get TWO weeks loss of vacation days! 10 days is just not enough!

      So now the question is, will CSI Oakland zoom in on that footage to identify the officer?
      Then, like the Bart Cop video of the shooting, will the officer and their fateful decision turn into a cause?

    • Strato Head says:

      If that was NYPD, youd be correct.  Since this is Oakland, where Office Mehserle got a whopping year and half jail sentence for killing an unarmed and subdued Oscar Grant at point blank range, in the back, ON VIDEO… yeah I’m sure this cop probably doesn’t give a single shit out of worry about ANY retaliation.

    • Aaron Klayer says:

      If I were that “officer” I would be shaking in my boots thinking about the potential backlash he will receive if Anon finds out who he is!

    • travtastic says:

      He better look into to getting some good character references for his disciplinary meeting.  The Coffee Club and Lottery Pool are privileges, not rights.

  6. mccrum says:

    Can’t we just “enhance”?

    I’d like Mark’s comment but the reality depresses the hell out of me.

  7. lesserlesserwashington says:

    It’s time for the military to step up and defend our First Amendment rights.  Tahrir Square!

  8. waltbosz says:

    I just found out that my uncle was one of the 79 protesters in Oakland that spent the night in jail. Video of him not related to Oakland http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=652254458776773309

  9. bcsizemo says:

    You know what that officer is thinking, “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel!”

    Next protest remember, bring your earplugs and safety glasses.

    • agraham999 says:

      Actually…I’m sure he’s thinking…

      “Like shooting unarmed protesters at a rally!”

      I’m sure the irony doesn’t escape anyone that an Iraq war veteran who survives two tours comes back and is shot in the head by an American Cop in Oakland. 

      • Finnagain says:

        Oakland is apparently a very dangerous place, and I will be recommending our conference organizers to keep that in mind when looking for a venue. 

  10. CSBD says:

    Add gas masks to that list.  One of the biggest suppliers of surplus gas masks is in California;  Majorsurplus.com

    • Guest says:

      nope. Bringing a gas mask is grounds for arrest and interrogation about what sort of plan you have. Also, older military surplus masks often have asbestos based filters.

      That said, be sure you get the right cartridge for the gas you’re fighting. MSA and North are your best bet, with filters for organic vapors and acid gas, as well as particulates.

      edited to add: rememeber to shave. Respirators and beards do not mix.

  11. firestormkaleidoscope says:

    This is all occurring roughly 3 blocks from my house…I’ve been seeing police since their raid first started, but last night was something that I didn’t even see during the Oscar Grant riots….

  12. Dito says:

    I would like to hope that this video goes viral and inspires even more outrage. However, I’m very cynical about the apathetic nature of most Americans. I’m sure, that, as I type this, the conservative, pro-Wall Street talking heads are spinning this as intentional provocation by the protesters.

    I’m already seeing comments that the Occupy demonstrators “don’t have clear or realistic demands” or “should be looking for jobs instead”.  And, of course, plenty of statements that the police acted with reason and restraint. Which I guess means not using live ammunition.

    I want this movement to succeed, to have a strong, measurable, undeniable outcome on US society. But I fear the talking heads – and their brainwashed fans – will win the war.

  13. Cowicide says:

    Xeni, thank you so much for posting this.  Every American needs to see this and we all need to act upon these treasonous attacks on our freedom in our homeland.

    More telephoto cameras need to get out there and focuses on these sociopath’s badge numbers (when the cowards don’t hide them, that is).

    We need the names of these treasonous cowards.

    I think at this point, the funds coming in from donations should partially go towards high-powered lenses for cameras to better “capture” these enemies of the American people.  We need a media task force that will expose these treasonous acts and the names of the enemy combatants that perpetrate said treasonous acts against the American public.

    Time to bring these terrorists to justice.

  14. I’ve noticed, over the past few years, and with demos like the G8 and party conventions, that there seems to be more trouble when you bring together officers from several departments to work together on “crowd control”. Perhaps it never occurs to the host dept. that you would have to tell the visitors NOT to abuse the crowd, and the visitors assume it’s OK since no one mentioned it. Meanwhile, the host department is in way over their heads. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have needed to invite their friends and neighbors to the part.

    But correlation does not equal causation, and I am likely wrong.

  15. Joseph says:

    I just want to make sure my outrage meter is set right here; does it make it more outrageous, the gentleman in question being a veteran, that he was part of a group trying to blockade City Hall and throwing rocks and paint at police officers, or less?

    • Tlahtolli says:

      Joseph, City Hall was blockaded by Oakland’s finest, despite being “allowed” to demonstrate there from 6am to 10 pm. It was about 8:30pm when all of this went down.

      Also, there were one or two people who threw things into the cops, but the crowd as a whole was not violent, and in fact, tried to stop things from being thrown.

    • Strato Head says:

      I don’t know… if it doesn’t concern you that any American Citizen would be given a skull fracture after being shot by police for simply standing on a street in a US City, and his only “crime” was misdemeanor “failure to comply with a lawful order” by attempting to stand between protestors and law enforcement… then I don’t think you even posses an “outrage meter” to set.

    • bret y says:

      Terrorists detonate the second bomb when the ambulance arrives to care for the victims of the first IED  in Iraq/Afghanistan.

    • William Bagilliam says:

      As opposed to the group trying to blockade free speech and throwing chemicals, explosives, and firing rubber bullets at peaceful protesters?  I’d recommend recalibrating your outrage meter to account for the oath taken to serve and protect while you’re at it.

      Then again, outrage meters are susceptible to user error.

    • Guest says:

      I’m sure you can feign greater outrage than that!

  16. Nathaniel Stephens says:

    It’d be nice if cops had to wear a number on their uniforms.  That way their name is protected, but if a video showing cop #37 is the one who threw the grenade then that person could be dealt with.  

    • AlexG55 says:

       They are required to in the UK- well, constables and sergeants are, but the higher ranks are so unlikely to be at the “sharp end” in a riot that the police have jokes about it. Unfortunately, as Cowicide referred to upthread, they often hide these numbers- there was quite a lot of complaint about it during the London G20 protests.

      Unless you’re referring to big numbers like football players have…

  17. PhosPhorious says:

    I just want to make sure my outrage meter is set right here; does it make it more outrageous, the gentleman in question being a veteran, that he was part of a group trying to blockade City Hall and throwing rocks and paint at police officers, or less?

    Exactly the same.  They shot him i  the face, and used flash bangs on unarmed citizens.

  18. MrEricSir says:

    Maybe it’s time we stop hiring half-retarded bullies who flunked out of college to enforce the law? 

    /just sayin’

  19. coop says:

    Doesn’t help.

    In the G20 protests in Toronto, a bunch of officers removed or covered their numbers, disobeying a standing order. They were caught “on tape” roughing up a civilain, but an internal police probe/investigation was unable to figure out who the officers were.

    It took a local paper, the Toronto Star, to publish photos of the officers in question to “help” the police force to identify them.

    When the officers can’t be bothered to obey a SO from their chief, and their union backs them, there’s not much hope.

  20. Shay Guy says:

    I checked my newspaper’s website just now to see how they handled it. The comments on the article were… saddening.

  21. spacemanmatt says:

    When they go home, officers are civilians too. And members of the 99%.

    Don’t let them forget on whose side they belong.

  22. AncientScot says:

    This is classic psy-ops.  The idea here is to ‘punish.’  The injured man is seen as bait.
    Here the policeman waited for the people to bunch up, and focus on the injured man.  He then tossed the concussion grenade (not a ‘flash/bang,’ no flash) in to bust as many eardrums as he could.  He even took the time to let it ‘cook off’ a bit so it couldn’t be thrown back, the creature.  The fact that he’ll go unpunished is the hissing shame of the world.

    • Strato Head says:

      It is a flash bang. “no flash”  REALLY? what the hell are you talking about?

      http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/440/noflashmyass.png/

      EDIT: No seriously… “He even took the time to cook it”… REALLY? You can’t see the massive flash from the device, but you can make out the cops hands out of that video and see when he pulls the pin and how long he holds it after before tossing it? Either you have access to MUCH better video than we do, your psychic, or you just making things up.

      • opmaroon says:

         This is a semantic dispute, concussion grenades produce a flash. This looks more like a concussion device to me.

      • AncientScot says:

        Really.  A standard issue flash/bang grenade makes a noise just like the above.  The major difference is that the flash part is comprised of six smaller charges that throw over 1 million candella of light.  Of course there’s a ‘flash.’  But if it was a real, genuine, shiny flash/bang, the only thing the protesters, the other cops and that camera would be seeing is green-spots. Honest.  With regards to point number two:  You can see the lob.  You can hear the detonation.  I’m guessing about a second elapsed.   I didn’t do the frame count because I’m too busy listening the the Cosmic Hum.  4.5 second fuse.  You do the math.  Don’t believe me?  Go to the DefenseTechnology.com website.  They say what the delay is.

      • Or he can count the number of seconds between when it first appears on camera and when it goes off, and know that that amount of time is lower than the cook-time for that class of grenade, and therefore it must have been cooking in the cop’s hand first for some period of time.

    • t3kna2007 says:

      > The injured man is seen as bait.

      Why not the simpler explanation that the officer had been given the general direction to bust up the crowd, saw a group and used his possibly-ex-military training to put the grenade where he wanted it with intent to disperse?  It’s horrific either way, but it seems like a stretch to think someone came up with a plan to injure one guy to lure others in. When they’re trying to get ‘em to leave.

      • AncientScot says:

        Injuring the poor man, and then…
        True.  That would be a stretch.  In truth, I don’t think it went down that way.  That doesn’t mean the policeman in question didn’t see an opportunity and exploit it.  Reptilian.  Reprehensible.  So puzzle me this: if he knew there was a man down (which he must have), with a head injury (never good), then why would he have ‘intent to disperse’ people who had come to render aid?  I’ll even cede the point that it’s possible one or two of the protesters in the crowd might have rushed forward with other intentions.  But that doesn’t seem to be visible on the video.

        • t3kna2007 says:

          I’m not defending police actions, and not debating any of your other points.  Reprehensible about says it.  I couldn’t do what those police did.

  23. jimh says:

    Only 308 views so far?

    • Cowicide says:

      Only 308 views so far?

      Yeah, something is screwy.  Somehow only 308 views and yet there’s 1,227 likes for it.

      I’ve been noticing these glitches more and more with YouTube since the OWS videos started appearing there.

      I suspect Google is screwing around with things.  I mean, just look at how their Google News page was in the beginning… they outright ignored the OWS even after it gained traction.  And even when Google News finally did start to show headline links, they were all negative towards OWS until much later.

      Google is evil.  I certainly wouldn’t put it past them to screw around with YouTube to help keep things down. (and as I type this, it’s still “stuck” at 308 views)

      UPDATE – And now I’m getting an “Error, try again” message every time I try to post this comment on the YouTube page:

      ” … Interesting how Google seems to be trying to keep this video out of sight as best it can by screwing with the view numbers. It’s been stuck at 308 views for a very long time, even after getting links from huge websites like boingboing.net – Google, are you being evil again? … “

      • Jardine says:

        Yeah, something is screwy.  Somehow only 308 views and yet there’s 1,227 likes for it.

        That’s actually normal on youtube. When a video starts getting a lot of views quickly, it gets cached on a lot more of youtube’s servers. When that happens, the counter stopped being updated right away. I think it ends up updated about once per day.

        • Eric Rucker says:

          Also, when a video’s count skyrockets, YouTube delays updating of the view count, to do some validation of the views, to make sure they’re not fraudulent attempts to boost AdWords revenue.

        • Cowicide says:

          I hope you’re correct.  Still, many hours later it still says only 308 views.  I just find this a little hard to believe that just because a video is popular it become technologically impossible to keep a counter going showing how many views are accumulating because of caching.

          A counter is a tiny amount of overhead even if you multiply it by millions… AND, if this was the case then how do you explain the fact that the like/dislike meter (which requires MORE overhead than a counter) is apparently working? (and also comments)… but I guess I’ll just cautiously hope this is ineptitude with Google engineers as apposed to censorship.  We’ll see.

      • jimh says:

        It’s definitely going viral very quickly. The comments are updating every few seconds. The quality of said comments is… uh, mixed.

        I wonder how long it will be before it gets pulled?

      • teapot says:

        I suspect Google is screwing around with things.  I mean, just look at how their Google News page was in the beginning… they outright ignored the OWS even after it gained traction.  And even when Google News finally did start to show headline links, they were all negative towards OWS until much later.

        C’mon Cow.. I agree with a lot of what you usually have to say but this is bordering on fringe conspiracy. The view count issue has already been addressed (It’s ‘stuck’ because the video is, as we type, going viral, meaning the view count cannot be accurately tracked).

        There is nothing funky going on with stories on Google News. Google News is an automated news aggregator, no human being edits it – it’s basically just google results for sites Google deems as reputable news organisations. The apparent lack of OWS stories, followed by a large number of negative OWS stories is merely a reflection of how the mass media sites dealt with the OWS movement over time (First: ignore. Second: discredit. Third: actually report).

        • Cowicide says:

          Google News is an automated news aggregator, no human being edits it

          Incorrect. Since just before OWS started, there’s been Editors’ Picks in Google News within the sidebar.  It’s not just an automated news aggregator anymore.  And, I stand by my comments. Google could have stepped up and properly disseminated the news that was readily available, but they didn’t.

          The view count issue has already been addressed (It’s ‘stuck’ because the video is, as we type, going viral, meaning the view count cannot be accurately tracked).

          I’ll concede that I’m probably wrong that they are specifically targeting that video’s view count.  But at the same time, it’s still bullshit that just because a video is “viral” it suddenly renders it a technological impossibility to use a counter with it.  If that was the case, then certainly the like/dislike button would be too much overhead for popular videos as well.  It gets “stuck” because  Google is becoming more inept as their monopoly grows.  It’s not a technological impossibility to keep a counter updated at least every hour just because it’s getting lots of traffic.

          • teapot says:

            Good point on the editor’s picks box, but to be fair it’s not a huge part of the page, nor is it featured on the news search results page. It’s not as if the whole page has the taint of human opinion. I just can’t imagine that Google management would choose to push any one agenda on this issue, particularly when many of the OWS protesters are far more tech savvy than general internetters and therefore more likely to notice such sneakiness.

            IRT the view count, I agree that it’s annoying and unbelievable that something as simple as ‘how many times has this been looked at’ cannot be accurately tracked live but if, as Jardine claims above, the videos are distributed to several servers to manage the load then keeping track of total view count becomes much more complicated code-wise and the potential costs of having accurate view count live (network load) outweigh the benefits (essentially nothing).

            In the case that you are right about them playing games the thing I can’t figure out is what is it that Google would be gaining by doing so.

          • snusles says:

            Maybe Eric Schmidt is worried his Bilderberg buddies will give him the heave-ho?

          • Ronald Pottol says:

            Editors picks are by the sources, I believe they can tag a very limited number of stories that way per day, but it is not under googles control, that is from the originator.

  24. opmaroon says:

    I wonder whether this is a ‘distraction/diversion device’ or a ‘behavior modification device’ – they have quite the selection to choose from…

    Any photos of the casing?

  25. angusm says:

    If protesters are getting critically injured with tear gas cartridges, you’re Doing It Wrong.

    Riot control police in many countries are trained to fire baton rounds – rubber bullets – downwards, at the target’s legs. Rubber bullets fired at the head can easily cause serious injuries or death. The dangers of tear gas cartridges are similar, and equally well-known: I can pretty much guarantee that police training and rules of engagement forbids the use of tear gas launchers below a certain range, or in a way that could cause injury (the canisters actually have a “Do not fire directly at persons” warning printed on them). 

    It sounds like someone didn’t follow the rules, and I’m not sure I’m ready to buy the inevitable “It was all a tragic accident” explanation that’s bound to follow.

  26. sammytaters says:

    Scott Olsen’s family can sue Oakland’s Mayor and Head of Police. They colluded to send the order to police officers to remove protestors with riot gear, when there was no riot. Its chain of command and they are responsible for this guy’s condition. Money talks, so I hope the head police/city officials involved in the order get sued for millions. It will make them think twice. If the legal action went to the top, instead of a low-life police man who threw the cannister, there would be accountability.

  27. Rindan says:

    Thankfully, the not completely corrupt police officer will surely receive a proper punishment.  No free coffee and donuts for THREE days!  That will teach him to wait for moregood Samaritans before wasting an expensive flashbang on so few do-gooders and people with head trauma.

  28. cre8more says:

    What a hideous case study in “ironic twist”.

    Defender of Democracy Gets Skull Broken In By Those He Fought For

  29. hungryjoe says:

    Oakland police are now “reviewing” this “action.”

    The minimum safe distance for a baton round is 5 meters.  At shorter distances, the round travels too fast and may be lethal.  Does that look like 5 meters (16′) from the police line to Mr. Olsen?

    For many bean bag rounds, the minimum distance is greater (6 or even 7 meters).

    • travtastic says:

      It makes me die a little inside that there are verified safe distances for firing projectiles at people.

      I mean, I understand it references rate of lethality and serious injury. But to the weapons industry, and the cops: for fuck’s sake, there is nothing remotely safe about shooting people, bullets or not.

  30. jimh says:

    MoveOn now circulating the video link via email blast! Viral!
    (And the comments are getting MUCH worse, so the turfers are on it now.)

  31. AirPillo says:

    Now he’s a veteran of two wars, I suppose. I wish he could get a purple heart for being wounded defending democracy here at home.

  32. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    So this was… you throw paint on us and we put you in the hospital.
    Makes total sense.
    Can anyone explain how this was protecting or serving anyone?

    If your from Oakland, why do you not have petitions to remove the Mayor and Police Chief moving yet?  It is obvious they care more about the 1% than the people who elected them.  Citizens exercising their rights were attacked by masked assailants that the citizens are forced to fund.

    This is how you turn a peaceful protest into something so much worse.
    You turned the dial to 11 Mayor, and the mayhem that is coming is squarely your fault.
    Will anyone be surprised to hear about people ambushing Oakland cops?
    Not suggesting it, not advocating it, but you declared war on the people… do not think some of them will let it go unanswered.

    • hungryjoe says:

      I think in this case the police are protecting the 1%. 

    • Alan Ball says:

      I sincerely hope they keep their cool. We don’t need more injured out there. I also hope to heavens this vet doesn’t die because then we’ll have a real real firestorm on our hands. We need chill protesting, no rocks or paint, just unrelenting communication.

    • hymenopterid says:

      The Thing is, the cops would really like us to respond with violence because that is the one tactic that they are actually comfortable with.

      We outnumber them greatly and they are not going to be able to stop us from organizing and communicating.  Who will they teargas when the whole country goes on strike?

      The more they devolve the more they contribute to their own irrelevance.  I would also remind folks that we have bigger fish to fry.

      • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

        That is why we will fail.  The whole country will never go on strike.
        There is always someone ready to claw their way up over someone else waiting for a chance.  There is the promise of if you work really hard you can be a 1%er too.  And people fall for it hook line and sinker.  People shoot each other in the streets to get designer sunglasses, to have the trappings of being successful with out the work.
        If the OWS people and supporters all went on strike, there will be plenty of people ready to step in and keep it going… because no matter how bad any of us have it there is always someone worse off willing to still do it to try and make their lives better.

        I hope people do not get violent, but I expect much more violence from the authorities and from outside people fired up by the media portrayal of OWS people just wanting to bring down everyone.  We are after all the amazing nation that turned a blind eye to groups being labeled as the “others” that we should fear.  This lead to the killing of people who did nothing wrong beyond being brown infront of someone who needed to “protect” Amerika from dem dirty bastards.

        OWS needs to add to their sessions petitions to recall their elected leaders who sit by and let this short of shit continue.  They need to work the system and use the power of being 99% of the voters and retake the power.  They can buy the Mayor, we can take the Mayor out of office and into a jail cell for taking the money.  We are not powerless, being the majority is supposed to count for something.

    • franka_645 says:

      We don’t actually have a Chief of Police, we have an interim since Chief Batts resigned after almost 90 murders so far this year.  He had been here a little more than a year.

  33. AncientScot says:

    Remember Gandhi and the merits of peaceful civil disobedience.
    Keep cool people.

    • Philip Hades says:

      Remember the police never fired tear gas at armed groups of Tea Partiers…

      • AncientScot says:

        Perhaps they didn’t take them as seriously?  Nothing the Tea Partiers did went global.  Or lasted this long.  “An eye for an eye makes everybody blind.”  If this is going to keep having traction in the media, they’re going to have to stand and ‘take it.’  And document, document, document.  Easy to say…
        How about if I rephrased it: Try to keep cool.  If you cross ‘that’ line, you’re just playing into their hands.

        • travtastic says:

          The Tea Party was rapidly purchased for astroturfing. They weren’t being beaten and arrested because of who was pulling the strings.

          OWS is still (and hopefully will remain) the populist movement that the Tea Party claimed to be. That’s why we’re being beaten and arrested.

      • Ronald Pottol says:

        Open carry (unloaded) is perfectly legal here (no more handguns after dec 31). Not saying it is a good idea.

    • travtastic says:

      I fully support peace. I’m a pacifist except in cases of defense from violence.

      But if the British weren’t in the process of having their empire dismantled, and if not for the much more violent uprisings occurring simultaneously in the region, Gandhi would have been publicly executed by the British. Along with anyone who rose up to take his place.

      Violence is a tool of oppression, and we should not be using it if we have a choice. Power is going to decide if we have that choice or not. You can only speak truth to it for so long before you grow tired of getting kicked in the teeth.

  34. jackbird says:

    But if the British weren’t in the process of having their empire dismantled, and if not for the much more violent uprisings occurring simultaneously in the region, Gandhi would have been publicly executed by the British. Along with anyone who rose up to take his place.

    First of all, they didn’t execute Nehru either.  Second of all, MLK.

    • travtastic says:

      I was actually about to edit MLK in.

      But what I was really getting at was that the man would have been dead before we knew his name.

      Non-violence is a really, seriously noble goal, and should be tried as long as humanly possible. But it’s not really fool-proof strategy to rely on the public shaming of your enemy forcing them to give up. It’s great to win your rights, but they can also be taken, definitely. They’re rights, after all.

  35. RichardL says:

    The movement has grown large enough for CIA and FBI  infiltrators to begin the process of instigating violence and discrediting the movement.

    • AncientScot says:

      Possible.  Isn’t that all that more reason to keep cool?  A sea of non-violent people infiltrated with a few brick throwing thugs… wouldn’t that contrast make it all the easier to spot the agent provocateurs?

  36. I shouldn’t be shocked, but I guess I am a little bit. The Oakland police released statements saying that they did not use rubber bullets or “flashbang grenades”, that the explosions came from “large firecrackers thrown by the protesters”. And that was dutifully repeated by the media.

    Now, after the recordings are going around, the “clarification” statement is that they “cannot speak for the 15 other law enforcement agencies on the scene.” Ohhhhhh, that’s all better then.

    Some mainstream media analysis  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/occupy-oakland-did-police-use-flashbangs-and-rubber-bullets-on-protesters/2011/10/26/gIQAL4pOJM_blog.html — but I doubt we’ll be seeing apologies from the credulous news organizations anytime soon, and the people who want to hear about violent protestors have already heard what they want.

  37. JayDub says:

    You need to fix the title to say what you mean for it to say.  Because right now this: “Occupy Oakland: video shows police officer throwing “flash grenade” into crowd trying to help injured protester” means the OFFICER was trying to help an injured protester. 

  38. Genre Slur says:

    The youtube link has a total of 308 views, 2,761 likes and 118 dislikes.
    Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    • jimh says:

      It’s been a common comment, here and on YouTube. The explanation is that viral videos update after a day or so, not in real time. We’ll see tomorrow, but I am expecting six figures. Many comments are coming from other countries saying it is at the top of their news sites, and MoveOn has email blasted it nationwide.

  39. Bokonon says:

    I was watching this live last night on the KRON helicopter cam.  The infuriating thing is that the helicopter turned its camera off at exactly the same time that the tear gassing took place ( I was also watching a livestream feed from the rally) When the camera came back on it was after the tear gas had been tossed.  The Helicopter said it had to “Refuel” during the time the camera was off.  BS of course  they were told what was about to happen and didn’t want it to be on their record. BAD MEDIA BAD

  40. Leafworth says:

    I can’t really blame Oakland PD. I mean, it’s not like their reputation could get worse or be sullied by actions like this. Pretty much every Law Enforcement agency in that area likes to do stupid things on camera. Sadly, this is barely news as a consequence. 

    • jimh says:

      If you think it’s barely news, I have some uh.. news for you.
      Also, I can blame the Oakland PD.

      • Leafworth says:

        Candidly, I’m surprised this is the only incident so far and that no one’s been killed. Blaming the Police is futile most of the time. They are ultimately controlled by, and answer to, City Hall or other civilian authorities. If you want to blame someone for how the Oakland PD conducts themselves, you have to look a little further up the food chain. 

        Oh, and guess who controls City Hall? 

        • jimh says:

          Actually, I can do both. I can blame the powers higher up, as you say. But ultimately, this has to do with individual accountability- that particular officer had a choice to make in that moment. And the officer chose to throw a flash grenade into the crowd that was rushing to the aid of an injured man. So, yeah, I blame him for making that choice. And I blame his superiors who put him there with a grenade to throw.

  41. fairhooker says:

    Unabashed liberal here. Living in Cleveland. From everything I’ve heard, the Cleveland cops have been pretty cool with the Occupy Cleveland protesters. Just saying. To keep this movement from being turned into Hippies against Pigs. To keep it from becoming a cartoon. (And if you really believe in the movement, do you think this 1% gives any more of a fuck about the cops than they do you? They’re just continuing to pit one working stiff demographic against another. Let it turn into protesters against cops while they count their money and laugh at you. Works out great for them.)

    • travtastic says:

      Here at Occupy Lancaster in PA (why, yes really) we’re actually set up on a public park ten feet away from the police station, with a permit that’s good until at least January, having the full support of the mayor, and using the cops’ bathrooms. Surprised the hell out of me.

  42. franka_645 says:

    I remember when I lived in Boston in 2004 and the Red Sox won the pennant, a young college student was hit in the head with a canister while walking home.  She died.  

    I have lived in Oakland for about 3 years, and this is the fourth time I’ve seen riot police downtown.  I’m not surprised that the police came down so hard here.  During the Oscar Grant riots, when protesters WERE being violent, the police were not as tough.   Our mayor came out,  he had a dialogue with the demonstrators.  This time around, when the demonstration was peaceful, it was a different story.  The mayor simply phoned it in, she was in Washington.

  43. travtastic says:

    Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly just voted 96% for a general strike and student walk-out in the area.

  44. digi_owl says:

    Hate to be the devils advocate here, but given the number of people that gathered in front of the barrier, and the likely adrenaline high the cops where running on, whoever threw that tear gas grenade could have been thinking the barrier was about to be stormed. Adrenaline, like drugs and sleep deprivation, do crazy things to our short term thought process.

    • Cowicide says:

      Hate to be the devils advocate here, but

      Well, Satan certainly does enjoy apologists, that’s for sure.

    • Guest says:

       Professionals fail to the level of their training.

    • All you did was describe the circumstances that could have lead to this happening. It doesn’t excuse it in anyway. 

      From the video you can see that he walked back from the barrier at a normal pace and then threw the grenade casually, as if he didn’t want to be seen throwing it.

      again though, we can all appreciate the concept of saying “oh he must have…” but that doesn’t mean that what happened was ok. “Oh I thought I was only supposed to feed my dog once every 4 days, I read something wrong online, what had happened was I had just gotten off the phone with my mother….”

    • travtastic says:

      I also hate for you to be the devil’s advocate here. No one is forcing you.

      Quite the same as no one forced that piece of shit to flashbang a medical evacuation.

      I don’t see anyone who even looks like they might be moving towards the cops. And you know what the reasonable response would be, if they did move forward?

      Stand your ground peacefully, or move.

  45. ExactKnowledge says:

    One dead in Oakland?  Four dead in Ohio.  Ohio with lyrics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI7-m919ynU

    What if you new him and found him dead on the ground.  How can you run when you know?

    How many more?  Why?

  46. miasm says:

    for anybody still living in denial and trifling around with the herd logic that people at these protests should expect this type of treatment; I want to know from you:

    What kind of unjust conditions would drive you to protest and what form would your protest take?

    • Cowicide says:

      What kind of unjust conditions would drive you to protest and what form would your protest take?

      Neither.  They are cowardly just as much as they are contented to be ineffectual serfs for the rest of their timid, spineless lives.

  47. David Neil says:

    It looks like he was hit by shrapnel from the tear gas canister (or is that a Flash/Bang)  that goes off at exactly 0:10.  He’s about 10 feet away behind the guy in the black sweatshirt and the person in the orange, in the right third of the frame.  About a half second after the flash, you see him fly backward and hit the ground, between 0:11 and 0:12.  So I don’t think he was hit by the canister, but by shrapnel from the device.  Outrageous that they’re using devices that are tossing out shrapnel that can do that kind of damage.  

  48. teapot says:

    People need to stop suggesting it’s just ‘bad apples’ in the police force who are responsible for this behaviour. Collective punishment for all cops will be required before the crooked, self-protecting, quasi-criminal organisation known as the Police Department actually starts punishing these ‘bad apple’ cops for their actions.

    How about everyone who can find one gets their hands on a battery powered stereo and takes it to a protest day bumping “Fuck tha police” by NWA? Double-awesome if you could set up a pirate radio broadcast of the song on loop so everyone’s stereo would sync.

    No points for subtlety, but at least the message is clear and it doesn’t involve bashing their heads in with bats (as I’ve previously suggested).

  49. As my girlfriend said about a different recent protest, “If it’s the job of the police to protect people, then who will protect protesters from the police?”

  50. The tea party demonstrators were actors paid by FoxNews.

  51. bardfinn says:

    The mere act of having a flashbang at hand, at a continuing protest / assembly, is /prima facie/ PROOF that the police intended to use it in response to the /current/ conditions, as opposed to the /actual/ method of keeping dispersal weapons secured until a dispersal order is given.

    That police /always intended/ to use that flashbang on a non-violent lawful assembly.

    • my_belly says:

      And the police HQ is about 5 blocks away. They don’t need to come prepared for everything.

    • Oh c’mon, that’s a completely bullshit argument…  That’s like saying that because a cop carried his sidearm to work on patrol, he INTENDED to use it on someone.

      You bring the tools you think you might conceivably need. There’s a ginormous protest going on. Protests don’t always go well. You might conceivably need crowd dispersal and subdual tools.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        That’s like saying that because a cop carried his sidearm to work on patrol, he INTENDED to use it on someone.

        I believe that’s called a false equivalency.

      • travtastic says:

        If they didn’t have their crowd-control weapons, how would they subdue the crowds who were angry that they were using their crowd-control weapons?

  52. CSBD says:

    As of 2010 Oakland does not have the money to respond to the following crimes:

    burglary
    theft
    embezzlement
    grand theft
    grand theft:dog
    identity theft
    false information to peace officer
    required to register as sex or arson offender
    dump waste or offensive matter
    discard appliance with lock
    loud music
    possess forged notes
    pass fictitious check
    obtain money by false voucher
    fraudulent use of access cards
    stolen license plate
    embezzlement by an employee (over $ 400)
    extortion
    attempted extortion
    false personification of other
    injure telephone/ power line
    interfere with power line
    unauthorized cable tv connection
    vandalism
    administer/expose poison to another’s

    http://jonathanturley.org/2010/07/13/oakland-police-announce-they-will-not-respond-to-various-crimes-like-burglary-grand-theft-and-other-crimes/

    But they do have enough money to crack skulls and stop peaceful protests.

  53. Teller says:

    In the aftermath, Oakland Mayor Quan and other progressives-in-office have been hand-wringing like wind turbines, having made their East Bay bones as protesters in the past.

  54. I just hope this doesn’t turn the narrative to Cops vs Protesters. Cops are getting screwed and are part of the 99% as well. It’s more than somethings that simple. Some thoughts:

    http://www.riseandfight.net/2011/10/occupywallstreet.html

  55. jimh says:

    (Stuck at) over 185,000 views now!
    EDIT: 370,000!

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