Police raid on Occupy Oakland: the morning after

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50 Responses to “Police raid on Occupy Oakland: the morning after”

  1. Guest says:

    Perhaps it is ‘organic poison gas’?

  2. CSBD says:

    It seems like the police are going to continue with violence/crackdowns in Oakland (or other places) until public opinion turns on them or until the protests end.

    The USA is probably not the best place for police/gov to start escalating violence.  
    Americans are not used to violence being perpetrated by police forces en mass (except in inner city neighborhoods) and will probably not put up with as much as protesters in the “Arab Spring” had to before there is some sort of push back (political or otherwise). Ameicans also dont have to break into government arsenals/armories to arm themselves.

    Why is it that this is only happening in Oakland?  Is it  a test case for police around the country (they all communicate now just like everyone else does) or is there something unique about the police/gov in Oakland that is particularly authoritarian and brutal?

    Why are the police there. There is no need for them to be cracking down on non-events (or non riots as it were)

    As for M80s, rocks and bottles; the police have helmets, face shields and shields. Its like complaining someone threw a water balloon at your car.

    M80s are not all that dangerous unless you decide to hold them in your hands… now if you dip them in rubber cement and then roll them in BBs like they did in the 1960s, then you could say they are dangerous.
    I doubt anyone had m80s lying around in Oakland… its not 4th of July, and everything else is illegal in California, so where are the M80s coming from? Police imagination? Is this some sort of Oakland Reichstag fire.

    “Someone told us that they thought someone threw an M80 or something… that justifies EVERYTHING we do afterwards”.

    • tor_berg says:

      Yes, OPD is particularly authoritarian and brutal, and Oakland’s municipal government, for several reasons, is very poorly run.

    • tamooj says:

      I think it’s for the reasons I outlined below – people in Oakland didn’t seem nearly as organized or orderly as protests in other cities.  You can’t give police reasons – in Oakland, police-baiting is a time honored part of their culture, and they are in turn aculturated to react by being thugs.  Get it together people.  Protest smart or the message will totally be lost by a justifiable public outcry against antisocial behaviors – you can’t trash a park, tolerate fights, impede medical workers, piss/sh*t in public, throw paint on innocents (even Cops are in the 99% folks!) and expect the press or the public to have any sympathy for your cause.

    • tamooj says:

      You are missing the point – it’s not the individual acts of violence such as throwing an M-80 or paint or bottles – it’s more the idea that the police can’t let the crowd see that ANY violence against police or innocents (stores, cars, pedestrians) is acceptable because it’s very very short hop from mostly harmless M80s to not-so-harmless Molotovs, especially for a mob.  So clean up your act, folks, before you ruin it for us all.

      • Thebes says:

        Has it ever dawned upon you that those throwing paint at the Police might well BE the Police?

        This has happened and been proven in Canada and The UK at anti-globalization protests. Frankly all of these tactics have been played out before, and there have always been Agent Provocateurs.

    • wizardru says:

      “I doubt anyone had m80s lying around in Oakland… its not 4th of July, and everything else is illegal in California, so where are the M80s coming from? Police imagination? Is this some sort of Oakland Reichstag fire. ”

      I’m not exactly sure what you’re saying, here.  That because possessing certain classes of fireworks is illegal on the books, there’s no way that any one in Oakland would have them?  Regardless of whatever argument you’re making here, that’s simply silly.  In particular because fireworks are lightly regulated at the best of times.  I live in Pennsylvania, where the perplexing laws state I can’t buy Class C fireworks, but I can SELL them…leading to a large number of fireworks stores along the border with Ohio.  Growing up in NJ, M80s were illegal but not hard to procure…when I was 12.  For an adult with a car?  Child’s play.

      As for the Reichstag fire?  It’s worth noting that while that is widely assumed to be a stunt run by the Nazis, it’s worth remembering that the famed Reichstag Fire Trial turned out to be PR fiasco for the Nazis.  Now let’s try and avoid Godwin’s Law and focus on the actual issue of what caused this calamity.

    • Fabi Fala says:

      “The USA is probably not the best place for police/gov to start escalating violence.  Americans are not used to violence being perpetrated by police forces en mass (except in inner city neighborhoods) and will probably not put up with as much as protesters in the “Arab Spring” had to before there is some sort of push back (political or otherwise). Ameicans also dont have to break into government arsenals/armories to arm themselves.”
      Ah the typical US exceptionalism. The Occupy movement and how it is handled by the US Government clearly shows that the “Land of the Free” blathering that USanians and their Government usually use to berate others are just hollow rhetorics. FYI an armed populace is not something unheard of in Middle Eastern countries (Tunesia, Lybia, Syria etc.) 

      The attitude US Police forces show toward their own citizens even under normal circumstances  is virtually unheard of in western Europe. Everyone who travelled to the US from western Europe heard the warnings concerning US police: Don’t ask questions, do whatever they say whether it’s reasonable or not, be careful or you get a gun/taser in your face.  “Land of the Free” – where the police behaves like in Syria.

      • dculberson says:

        Right, because no police overstep their bounds in Europe.  Oh, wait:

        http://www.google.com/search?q=Lambros+Foundas

        • Nick Wood says:

          Let’s see in the UK recently:

          Philip Hulmes
          Jacob Michael
          Dale Burns
          Mark Duggan

          We’re at the stage where Iran is urging British authorities to exercise restraint and accuses government of double standards over human rights ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/09/uk-riots-iran-condemns-police )

      • wizardru says:

        “The Occupy movement and how it is handled by the US Government clearly shows that the “Land of the Free” blathering that USanians and their Government usually use to berate others are just hollow rhetorics.”

        Really?  That’s funny, I’d have thought a national protest movement that’s arisen in dozens of major cities and has lasted for a SOLID MONTH with no deaths, relatively few injuries other than Oakland and few arrests is a pretty strong testament to the Land of the Free.  No one in the USA is terrified of armed revolt or an overthrow of the government.  No one is seriously worried about a violent repression of these protests except those given to hyperbole or crackpots.  Some of the ‘Occupy’ movements have worked closely WITH the police; other less enlightened cities have had clashes and some have been about pushing limits on both sides.

        Does that justify police brutality?  Not at all.  Many protesters are breaking laws for their protests and are getting arrested.  Is this some sign of the rise of a police state?  Again, NO.

        I do sense some hollow rhetoric here, though.

        • Thebes says:

          re: few arrests is a pretty strong testament to the Land of the Free

          A Marine Veteran of the Iraq War is in critical condition after being shot point-blank in the head with a rubber bullet.
          Police lobbed a Percussion Grenade at an unconcious woman to keep others from helping her. They had shot her in the head with a tear gas canister or similar fired round.

          The City told them to shut the fuck up and go home.
          This was punishment for standing up and continuing to speak Truth to Power after they no longer “permit” it.

      • Aloisius says:

        Weird. I had no idea that “USian” has spread outside of Canadian anti-American circles.

        That said, your point of view of someone who has “heard warnings” is very interesting. What other things do they say about the US in your social circle?

        As someone who was born in the Bay Area and lives in San Francisco 12 miles from where this police raid happened, I can say that, in 33 years, I have never had a taser or gun held to my head and no one in my social circle is concerned or afraid of that happening to them. If there is a crime happening or an accident, I don’t hesitate the call the police.

        As someone who has lived in San Francisco proper for 15 years, I’ve seen, quite literally, hundreds of protest where the police actually didn’t beat anyone up. Most recently at Occupy SF, police escorted the protestors to keep them from being run over by traffic. I know this may be shocking, but for some reason peaceful protests that go off without any violence are rarely reported internationally which may lead to a overly negative portrayal of a place. I have seen police crack down on protestors as well, including circling them with full riot gear, when tensions ran high because the black bloc or some group of troublemakers decided that protest means breaking things and threatening the police. I have also seen blog posts like this one claim that no such group existed and that the police did it without justification, even though I personally watched it happen.

        Now I’m not saying that is what happened here and I’m not saying the police force through the US is made up of boy scouts, but given that the police are controlled by the *city* and the US federal government has nothing to do with them, I find it hard to paint the entire United States, which is physically as big as Europe and quite diverse, with such a broad stroke.

        • Daniel says:

          I have also seen blog posts like this one claim that no such group existed and that the police did it without justification, even though I personally watched it happen.

          Now I’m not saying that is what happened here and I’m not saying the police force through the US is made up of boy scouts, but given that the police are controlled by the *city* and the US federal government has nothing to do with them, I find it hard to paint the entire United States, which is physically as big as Europe and quite diverse, with a such a broad stroke.

          Emphasis mine.  You might not be saying it but you are strongly implying it. 

          If it happened, photos could prove it.  If it didn’t, well, you can’t prove a negative — you can’t provide photographic evidence of something that didn’t happen.

          Find the photos.  It’s that simple.

          • Aloisius says:

            If it happened, photos could prove it.  If it didn’t, well, you can’t prove a negative — you can’t provide photographic evidence of something that didn’t happen.

            Leaving aside the fact that I did state that I didn’t know if it happened here and the obvious fact that it is nearly impossible to show assault in photos (as opposed to battery which is quite easy) and even without looking at a single photo or video, it would require an extreme level of naivety to believe that no threats of violence were hurled at the police from a group as large and diverse as this one. There was an admission of attempted battery mentioned in this very article for goodness sakes: “there were lone crackpots here and there throughout the night tossing a
            single bottle or rock…”

            Now of course, there is a matter of justification. While I have a hard time believing assault or battery are justified in any peaceful protest, I’m also not against less than peaceful protests if it is for a just cause. I just rather be honest about them and call them what they are.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Is this some sort of Oakland Reichstag fire.

      Oakland has been a Bay Area Reichstag Fire for some decades now.
      “Why do we need to do this?”
      “Because……………..Oakland!”
      “Oh. Okay.”

    • travtastic says:

      Is this some sort of Oakland Reichstag fire?

      No, but it’s definitely some sort of Oakland Haymarket Affair.

    • TheLabRat says:

      I used have this job where I tracked fireworks related articles in Cali, specifically illegal fireworks activities.  Illegal fireworks are rampant in California, particularly in cities that don’t allow the kiddie ground sparklers (pro tip: Oakland is one such city).  Most cities only really had peak fireworks problems around the 4th but Oakland would turn up fireworks articles in like March.  They make their own, they smuggle them in from Nevada or Mexico.  I have no problem believing that someone might have had m80s.  It’s only October; I guarantee you someone had some leftover from the 4th.  That said, all of your points about how dangerous they are is totally spot on. Also, I find it interesting that the cops in Albany totally refused the Gov. and Mayor’s orders to disperse the crowd because they weren’t causing any problems.  Here’s hoping that other cops, who are part of the 99%, follow suit.

  3. tamooj says:

    I’m a little confused why any protester would tolerate someone in our midst throwing bottles or M-80′s. Letting them get away with anything provocative could be used as a rationale for violent over-responses by the police.  I mean WTF!  If I’m trying to peacefully protest Wall Street Greed, or any other righteous cause, letting some crazy dude incite the police into maiming people is just stupid.  We are protesting because we are good citizens, and good citizens don’t stand by while this kind of stuff happens. Drag the bastard down, tie-wrap his ass like a turkey, and then frogmarch him to the barriers and toss his ass over to the cops.  If we let stand the habit of turning a blind eye to this type of pool-pissing, we are not only risking violence against innocents, but we also open ourselves up to being manipulated / discredited by covert professional instigators working in the crowd.  Don’t be chill when someone throws a bottle – warn them once and watch them closely, then have the courage (with friends) to take action.

    • joeposts says:

      “Don’t be chill when someone throws a bottle – warn them once and watch them closely, then have the courage (with friends) to take action.”

      Maybe not the best idea. That bottle-thrower could be an undercover cop, and if you surround him he’ll be calling for backup. Even if he’s just an angry rock-throwing communarchist, starting a fight won’t look good to a bunch of scared police.

      Shouting at them and calling attention to them, sure. Worked in Quebec.

    • Nathanael says:

      Usually it’s an agent provocateur – a police officer disguised as a protester who is trying to incite others to riot so that they can get their asses beat by the cops. It’s well documented how these guys go in and try to stir up trouble. Even if they can’t get anyone else to join them, they still give other police a reason to whip out the nightsticks.

    • In Seattle at the WTO, the protestors tended to be very peaceful, but when the cops invaded Capital Hill residents threw bottles.  I agree that turning a blind eye is a bad idea, though I’m not sure about tackling people: a more feasible approach, something that might work in the chaos and disorder of a protest when someone simply and suddenly throws a bottle laying around, is to shout “police provocateur.”  Paid or not, that’s the role they’re playing.  But I don’t think you can stop the police from being incited — are we talking 5 bottles, 10, that caused a police riot?  Less?  Nor “warn them once” and not have the police already pouring down and creating chaos.  

  4. agraham999 says:

    As I tweeted last night:

    “When the police in other countries crack down on protesters, our leaders chastise those governments. Where are our leaders now?” 

    Whenever we see people in other countries speaking truth to power, there is a visceral response from our leaders to stand with the protesters and say…Democracy demands this…let your people speak…let them assemble…however when it happens here it scares the shit out of those at the top and the crackdown takes place. I’m also a little shocked that the police, who share more in common with the protesters than those in power, are taking a hard line against those who, if anything, want to serve and protect their interests as well. 

    I guess having all those fun riot tools, but not getting to use them is just too much of a temptation. 

    • Jim Saul says:

      It’s pretty solidly set up for those cops to have as much psychological alienation as possible from the people they are attacking.

      Put someone in that kind of full black armor, shielded, masked, and standing in phalanxes, orders coming inside the helmet like the voice of god in clipped faux-military precision, adding the self-selection of authoritarian predispositions, and you have your own Stanford Prison Experiment on steroids.

    • OldBrownSquirrel says:

      “I guess having all those fun riot tools, but not getting to use them is just too much of a temptation.”

      OK, imagine you’re a cop.  It’s not the job you expected from watching television.  You spend most of the day waiting for calls to come in.  It’s mostly dealing with car accidents, crime reports that will never be meaningfully investigated, and reams and reams of paperwork.  A riot is an opportunity for cops to blow off some steam, to have the excitement the job promised but seldom delivered, and more than anything else, the opportunity to wear serious badass riot cop gear and play with serious badass riot cop toys.  Riots are what cops desperately dream of, and they’ll utilize the least excuse to characterize a public gathering as a riot.  They’re not serving the public good.  They’re serving their own adolescent urges.

      • EH says:

        It’s more likely that they receive (something like) danger pay every time they put on the helmet.

      • Pleiades says:

        “Not the job you expected from watching TV”?   “Riots are what cops desperately dream of,” I know a few (two of whom are Iraq war veterans!) Oakland PD and Berkeley PD. A vast majority of them have a passion for what they do-stopping crime, helping people and keeping scumbags off the streets- one of the most dangerous cities in the US. NYPD, LAPD and OPD as well as many other departments in metropolitan areas are overwhelmed with calls everyday. All of the police I know love what they do and wouldn’t want to do anything else. As in every occupation I am sure there are a few over-zealous and corrupt ‘workers’ or ‘bad cops’. But it’s extremely ignorant for you to make such significant generalizations. A few of the guys I know work their a$$es off in East Oakland.  They work all night-10 hour shifts (sometimes 3 12-hour shifts in a row) with possible overtime. One is also going to school and getting his masters so when he’s not working he is studying or at school. But apparently he’s not a person with feelings or compassion because he is a “cop”. They do have lives, children and social lives. I know they would rather be working their normal shifts, stopping crime and gang activity (which is still running rampant in other areas) and not working all of this overtime. They work in a battle field every day already putting their lives at risk-chasing down criminals who have assault rifles etc-the officers I know could really care less about tossing out projectiles-they’d rather go home to sleep, play with their kids, or go have a beer and watch the game. I support the occupy movement but don’t agree with making ignorant statements regarding the PD or even protesters. I also don’t agree with the tactics that were employed the other night and the protesters that were throwing rocks and paint on officers. Last time I checked, that is not what this movement is about and not included in the definition of freedom of expression. I would fully expect to have force applied and arrested if I did that. Case in point, there are a few bad apples on each side but your comment is extremely ignorant. 

        • OldBrownSquirrel says:

          As a civilian, I’m generally afraid of the police.  They are a danger to the citizenry, and our elected officials often fail to take appropriate measures to protect us from them.  Looking at the Bill of Rights, I think it’s fair to say that this country was founded by those with a similar fear of unchecked police power.  The police are heavily armed, they have effectively no fear of the law, and they often develop a tendency to see anyone not in a police uniform as the enemy, the “scumbags” you describe.  The worst part is the tendency of most cops to rally to the support of the bad apples; that’s when their us vs. them mentality becomes most apparent.  The police are effectively a street gang with a license, an officially sanctioned protection racket.  In some places, it works reasonably well; at the very least, they’re providing actual protection.  In other places, it doesn’t.  Oakland is one of the places where it works very, very poorly.

          One last note: if police wish to be perceived as humans with feelings and compassion, they should understand that riot gear that makes them look less human than Darth Vader doesn’t do much to trigger feelings of sympathy.

  5. EH says:

    What kind of police department has to turn the lights off in order to avoid media scrutiny?

  6. nottir says:

    Sick, sad, disturbing. Armed police in full riot gear attacking peaceful protestors including citizens and veterans. Cannot believe I watched 5 peaceful protestors, one in a wheelchair, be surrounded by armed police in riot gear and arrested and carried away. They were doing nothing but sitting and chanting. This was downtown Sacramento, Cesar Chavez park where I walk with my toddler to get to the library next door. I guess this is the America we get to inherit.

  7. Mister44 says:

    I know I posted this once before – but I think it goes well with police in riot gear:

    Good news, everyone! There is now an anthem.

    http://www.kmfdm.net/adrugagainstwallstreet/

    • WHOA. Man, this Oakland stuff is really bumming me out, but dude – that just made my day!  I totally used to rock out to KMFDM back in the 90′s, even saw them live once. So glad to see them still doing what they do best.

      So has Governor Moonbeam weighed in on all of this yet? He should be doing something about this. Let’s hope things are handled better tonight up there.

  8. John Delaney says:

    This picture made me angry:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2011/10/25/BAUB1LLTC9.DTL&object=%2Fc%2Fpictures%2F2011%2F10%2F25%2Fba-OCCUPY26_0504432665.jpg
    And I thought that some /b/tard should turn it into a meme.  Why should 4chan have all the fun.
    Caption away:
    http://memegenerator.net/Happyfuncop
    I’m kind of a social networking retard, so If there is a better platform to do this sort of captioning thing, let me know and I will upload the picture there.  But seriously it makes me angry that these cops are cracking jokes while they’re gassing people.

  9. If they really believe that a had a protester “threw M-80 explosives at police officers”, wouldn’t they have, I don’t know, tried to find who threw it and arrest the individual rather than escalate things so far there was no hope to catch the perp? Or did they just want to create a whole bunch more perps?

  10. ffabian says:

    Kent State

  11. Cowicide says:

    Everyone needs to see this video as already mentioned by Matt in the previous thread.

    Oakland police deliberately throwing a grenade into a crowd of people trying to help a badly-injured protester:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZLyUK0t0vQ

  12. nottir says:

    MSM is still covering this very little or not at all. What can we do? Email? Telephone? Anybody have ideas/experience with taking the networks to task?

  13. tamooj says:

    If you read my other comments you will see that, yes, I did indeed think of this. It’s a well-known and well-documented practice in many countries, including the UK.  If it were proven to have occurred in the US, with video and photographs from multiple sources, it would bring down the leadership of the Police Department in question.  Americans can only tolerate tyranny under certain conditions – our urge to distrust “the man”, and actually do something about,  runs a lot deeper than in most Western countries.  Sadly, the military-entertainment complex is getting pretty good at feeding us the kind of entertaining lies that prey on our baser nature.

  14. Dave says:

    It’s amazing to me that people can look at a video of a police officer throwing an explosive device at a group of people trying to help a man who just had his  skull fractured by a police weapon and continue to claim that the police are “part of the 99 percent”.   As long as the police continue to follow orders from above, they are not on our side. 

  15. Jonathan Shockley says:

    Some deceptive reporting  up there… that grenade remainder is clearly labeled “Saf-Smoke”. It is NOT a CS grenade!

  16. jts_ghost says:

    Thanks for this excellent post. Just wanted to mention that Aaron Hinde (friend of Olsen’s and Iraq Veteran Against the War) and Jessie Palmer (Occupy Oakland protester) were interviewed on Democracy Now! today (Thursday). Check it out at this link: http://www.democracynow.org/tags/occupy_wall_street

  17. Guest says:

    #PETITION: Deploy the National Guard to protect protesters from police forces anywhere in USA. wh.gov/Twz 

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