Oakland PD to mayor: are we 99% or not?

The Oakland PD union is confused by Mayor Jean Quan's approach to the protests -- they say that after they were ordered to clear the Occupy camp (a mission that led to bloody conflict in the streets), the mayor allowed the protest camp to be re-established in a larger, better organized form. Meanwhile city employees have been given permission to participate in today's Oakland General Strike -- but not the Oakland PD. "There is no clear mission here. The mayor is painting this picture that we're the bad guy. We're just doing our jobs, carrying out her orders, and we need some big leadership now." (Thanks, Al!)


    1. Actually, since the winners and losers in wars and revolutions often act about the same, historically it has worked about half the time.

  1. They’re confused? I’m confused! Are they saying they want to stand in solidarity with the people they were tear gassing last week? 

  2. On the one hand, this could be the PD showing their support for the movement, which would be awesome.  On the other hand, they might just want a day off.

    In any case, the mayor should give the police the day off in solidarity!  No possibility of violence or teargassing.  Of course it would also mean carte blanche for every criminal in the city, not to mention a golden opportunity for plants to sabotage the movement by rioting.  So… maybe the police shouldn’t have the day off?

    EDIT: I misread the post. Certainly if the police want to participate in the protests they should definitely be allowed to. Maybe it’ll make the on-duty police less likely to repeat earlier incidents, knowing their brothers and sisters are standing with the protesters.

    1. “On the other hand, they might just want a day off.”

      I think you’re obtusely misunderstanding the point of a strike.

      Nobody wants to be there, but when you can’t do your job because of an utter failure of leadership (and the police are the ones with the greatest reason to strike) then you take to the picket lines. Police who are not on duty should have the right to attend. Nobody -wants- to attend.

      It’s just what is left.

      (edited to add this: thanks for getting my point dagfooyo)

  3. Yeah, it really does seem like you’re being given conflicting tasks that often seem at odds with people’s legal & ethical rights.  It does seem like sometimes you are being asked to be the jackbooted heel of corporate concerns on the throat of some people duly outraged at financial malfeasance & political lobbying.  Huh.  I wonder where that is coming from?  I wonder how you might be getting that impression.

  4. Most police do not want to spend one second dispersing peaceful protest.  The self image of a good cop is of a person standing between bad guys and good citizens.  If police do not see clear moral turpitude, their natural and well earned cynicism tends to take over.  This is a good thing. 

  5. Is it just me or does the need to ask for permission before one can strike defy the point somewhat? The Oakland PD does seem to be having an identity crisis. I spent a lot of time looking at the faces of the Metropolitan Police on the first night of the Occupy London Stock Exchange protests; I wondered how many of them felt conflicted.

  6. Leaving aside the shooting with a gas grenade, the police are being given contradictory orders. Their leaders want to have it both ways. But they still have no right to be confused, the problem is obvious: you work in Oakland, the full fruit and flower of the liberal ideology. You are the gloved hands and jackbooted feet of that ideology. What did you expect?

    If you don’t want to be a part of that, quit. Go be a cop in a more conservative state, where your orders are more consistent, you’re enforcing laws that taxpayers voted for, and are appreciated for doing so.

    Let Oakland – let California – burn. You can’t fix a state that is intent on self-destruction. And if you stand on the line, with neither your leaders nor your citizens backing you up, you’ll only get consumed.

      1. I’m still trying to get over the concepts of jackbooted liberals and conservatives respecting law over ideology. I can only hope that it’s a well-written parody.

  7. “We’re just  doing our jobs, carrying out her orders,
    and we need some big leadership now.” 
    Would have sounded like an honest plea. 
    The Union  basically godwined  it’s own statement.

  8. To me, “doing our jobs” is the worst cop-out (no pun intended); it’s not like you don’t know what you’re doing and it’s not like you have no say in it.  You may only be acting on part of the information available but you are still in control of your actions, up to and including whether you follow orders.

    So here’s my armchair analyst advice: instead of turning this into a game of “he said, she said” suck it up, admit something went really wrong, and lock yourselves in a room together until you’re able to come out with a solution.

  9. From the OPD website: “… hundreds of City workers encouraged to take off work to participate in the protest against “the establishment.” But aren’t the Mayor and her Administration part of the establishment they are paying City employees to protest? Is it the City’s intention to have City employees on both sides of a skirmish line?
    It is all very confusing to us.

    Meanwhile, a message has been sent to all police officers: Everyone, including those who have the day off, must show up for work on Wednesday.”

    Seems like the Mayor, and/or whoever she is taking orders from, is trying to engineer something unpleasant. Swelling the Occupy crowd – filling the police lines (including disgruntled cops losing their day off). This, with the recently released images of police pretending to be protesters, doesn’t bode well.

    Take care out there. Keep it peaceful. Document everything.

    1. No, no, no. This is easy for you to say in this very narrow sliver of police behavior, but you are delusional if you think the sociopaths the police deal with are better than the police themselves. Or you need to get out more. There are bad police, and they need to be weeded out whenever possible, but the police generally are not the problem.

      1. I think you may be what has historically been called an “Uncle Tom”.

        EDIT: I would also like to point out that the “sociopaths” you fear never locked 3 million of their brothers in prison.

        1. I would never have been called “Uncle Tom.” I’m a white, male professional. I would have been called The Man. Let’s make sure we are clear about that.

          And you are spot on. Criminals don’t lock people up. You know, because they are criminals. You ought to go sit in a criminal court for a few days and see the things that people do to each other for the stupidest (or no) reasons. The police caught every one of the people there, and I guarantee you’d rather be locked in a room with your average cop than any of those people.

          But whatever. As long as the police are protecting you whether you want it or not you are free to act as if all police are equally bad.

  10. Within all professions there will be a portion of “bad apples”; cops get a bad rap because their bad apples have more power than most other bad apples. 

    1. Also, cops have a cultural tendency to rally to the defense of the bad apples out of a misplaced sense of camaraderie.  The full extent of the bad apple metaphor then applies: one bad apple spoils the barrel.

  11. I hate to interject facts into this discussion, but city of Oakland employees were not encouraged or “given permission” to take the day off but were told they could ask their supervisors for permission to request the day off (and then could use vacation or comp time to cover the outage). There’s a difference there.

  12. what’s happening is the agents of hegemony are scrambling to maintain legitimacy. the mayor HAS TO prevent the spell of “democracy” be broken, or people really will go fuckin nuts. on the other hand, the monopoly on violence HAS TO be upheld by the police. although, it’s good training and intel gathering for the emerging paramilitary tendencies being nurtured (mostly academicaly, thus far) by intelligence agencies.

    anyway, yeah, what’s happening is inevitable, and the logic of Capital hasn’t yet manifested an effective strategy for framing the discourse in oakland. it’s doing fine in most other OccupyWhatever situations, as the white middle class has made their movement(s) completely irrelevant by using their logically incoherent (yet hegemonically consistent) insistence on “nonviolence” to maintain legitimacy, which fundamentally includes maintaining institutional violence. oakland will recover, wounds will scab, the park will remain occupied by rats and undesirable humans, and all will return to normal.

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