Occupy Oakland Denounces Police Violence and City Lies

Categories: Media Committee

On January 28, thousands of people responded to Occupy Oakland’s call for a mass mobilization to occupy a vacant building and transform it into a new home for the movement. Occupy Oakland’s new home was to be a social center, open to all who wanted to participate and contribute. We planned to work together, as we did at Oscar Grant Plaza, to provide free food, housing, medical care, a space for children, a space for women and queers, and, most importantly, a community.

“The entire plan to take over a building was kept a secret in order to avoid conflict with the police,” said Occupier Jaime Omar Yassin. “The plan would allow people who wanted to stay away from police to do so. Only people who were committed to facing police violence and arrest–knowing the risks–would stay in the building. The last thing we wanted was for hundreds of people to be assaulted and arrested, but that seemed to be the OPD’s priority in order to protect an unused building.”

We were met with a massive police response including tear gas, flash bang grenades, sub lethal rounds and wanton baton strikes. The city, which continues to close libraries and schools and lay off city workers, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to violently prevent Occupy Oakland from transforming an unused, City-owned building into a socially useful space. In excess of $3 million of taxpayer money has been spent to repress Occupy Oakland so far; the city seems to have no intention of halting its costly and brutal efforts.

Despite the police aggression, close to a thousand people regrouped at Oscar Grant Plaza and marched through downtown. Police trapped us in a vacant lot at 19th and Telegraph and tear gas was once again used. After escaping the kettle, the march continued a few blocks north before hundreds were trapped again, in front of the YMCA building, and arrested with no dispersal order. By the end of the evening, close to 400 protesters had been arrested in Oakland, the vast majority with unfounded charges that will most likely be dropped.

Despite police and city official’s attempts to criminalize and smear Occupy Oakland, the movement retains high levels of broad support. The fact that several thousand people participated in the Move-in Day is evidence of the continuing support for Occupy Oakland. Cars honked in support of the march as we passed in the streets, several storefronts cheered and residents passed out water to gassed and exhausted protesters. Solidarity demonstrations were held in nearly thirty cities, organized by Occupy Wall Street, Boston, Chicago and others.

As marchers were released through the weekend, stories of police misconduct emerged. Alyssa Eisenberg, an Occupy Oakland activist who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was denied her medication while being detained. “At least two other people who asked for medication weren’t given it,” she said. “One woman had her cuffs on so tight that her hands were turning blue and she was crying. The way they treated us is exactly why I am involved in Occupy Oakland,” Eisenberg said. Other protesters recently released from jail report similar widespread abuses. Detained protesters were kept in painful zip tie handcuffs—some for 8 to 12 hours—were not allowed to access bathrooms and were not given medical treatment for injuries or illness—including someone suffering from HIV and another suffering from a kidney condition. Those processed at Santa Rita have complained of being kept in holding areas designed for a fraction of their number, in inappropriate areas like shower rooms, and of being harassed.

These acts follow the Quan administration’s attempts to game the judicial system and use it to stifle freedom of expression with “stay away” orders and by piling on, and reopening, charges for protests. Occupy Oakland and the people of Oakland and the Bay Area, will not be intimidated into silence and passivity by the violence and repression against us. These acts only strengthen our resolve, and should be a clarion call to all people who value free speech and assembly. Occupy Oakland continues to plan demonstrations and actions to defend the interests of the 99% against the repression and greed of the 1%. On Sunday, January 29, the day after police attacks and arrests, Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly voted to hold a rally against police repression on Monday, February 6, and endorsed the call for a May 1 international general strike.

Other examples of misconduct from the weekend include:

* Firing sub-lethal ammunition indiscriminately into a crowd, at head level; use of tear gas in violation of OPD’s policies.

* Detaining journalists with visible press credentials

* Officers covering ID/name tags—illegal under California Penal Code 830.10; a Federal Judge recently called this “the most serious level of misconduct”

* Policies for dispersal orders not followed

* Unnecessary use of force and violence

* Filing “stay away” orders which prevent protesters from attending GAs and city council meetings.

Links and Video:

Judge Henderson’s Ruling on OPD Covering ID/Name


Evidence that marchers were kettled and gassed, detained without warning, and NOT “occupying” the YMCA, by Spencer Mills aka OakFoSho

More clear video of the march being simultaneously trapped and tear gassed

(source: http://occupiedoaktrib.org/2012/02/01/press-release-occupy-oakland-denounces-police-violence-and-city-lies/ )
Video of Press Conference 2/1/12


10 Responses to “Occupy Oakland Denounces Police Violence and City Lies”

  1. Judy

    I am witness to alot and that includes the murder of Officer Greg cessna in Snohomish county wa 1988 it was made to look like a car ‘accident’ police corruption killed him and it didnt stop there-its never been solved its just a matter of killing all the witnesses. Before that happens, I just like to mention that Officer Greg Cessna who was from colorado had evidence on illegal arms deals, human slavery-child trafficking and treason and that evidence was on american police and military-Right there in Snohomish county, washington Officer Greg Cessna worked undercover with Bobby Lee Tallman (that was made to look like a car accident too) syringes were used on them, duct tape and tire irons-Officer Greg Cessna had a family-your sapposed to know.

  2. Judy

    There is definately something wrong with our police. We know that police corruption and brutality is out of control. I used to live in Pierce county, wa its illegal arms deals central even explosives were put into molds to look like ordinary landscaping rocks and sold right out of Spanaway, wa landscaping company to underground interests: and so close our military bases and makes them look like idiots not patriots. I saw alot of crimes which makes me an eye witness and although, I reported those crimes nothing happened except I recieved fractures and attempts on my life. I even witnessed claymores being burried under telephone poles in Roy, wa 8th Ave. We cant believe in our military or police: I’m witness to that too.

  3. dingalingy

    That being said, i am continuing to demand justice to for the people of oakland who were subjected to horrifying and brutal armed attack by police.

  4. dingalingy

    The willingness of so many sincere and dedicated oakland occupiers to defend the actions on jan 28 demonstrates a lack of experience and a potentially fatal misunderstanding about the political dynamics involved in our struggle. The unwillingness of those participating in and subsequently attempting to justify the chaos indicates a lack of understanding of our enemy and the seriousness of our struggle. This is not a game, it is real war, and unless we fight our war non-violently (198 tactics ) we give our power back to the enemy and loose our public support. There are many people who have been engaged in this struggle for decades, waiting for the moment when the young people would join them on the front lines and enough people stood up for change. Unfortunately, the rapid growth of the Occupy movement made it impossible to explain the basic dynamics of political struggle to all of these new activists. To be quite honest, I am new to the knowlege myself. If you have not availed yourself of the information provided by the Albert Einstein Institute for non-violence or the current tv documentary on gene sharp, please do. The Tunisians did, and the malaysians. If you think our people are less repressed, and deserve less than revolution, please, continue to break things, throw stuff at cops, and take out your uncontrolled emotion on whatever. If you want to win, follow the lead of earlier successful movements. Only discipline and order in the face of violent repression wins the hearts and minds of the 99% we are supposed to lead and represent. What % of the 99% can comprehend explanations of vandalism, justifications for flag burning? If you can’t control yourselves, why would the 99% trust you to make change? Chaos feels good, but it doesn’t work, and i would hate all of our efforts so far vanish into a melee of mindless disorder. What’s done is done, hopefully we can pick up the peices and move forward, it is up to you.

  5. occupyforelosedhomes

    Mayor Quan made a statement that people who are not from Oakland should not use Oakland as their playground, well I say that Mayor Quan should not use her police force to brutalize the People of Oakland and should not brutalize the people who come to Oakland to visit or protest.
    Historically, the press and the Oakland police have always given the impression that Oakland is a very dangerous place, riddled with crime and violence, I believed this and for this reason I have never considered coming to Oakland, but the night I saw how the OPD smoke bombed the OWS I decided, Oakland was a place I really wanted to go, and thus I organized a working vacation just to attend the March of j12 and I am so proud to have served with the people of OWS on that historic day. I fell in love with the people of Oakland, OMG. The people of Oakland are a sweet people, vibrant, freedom loving individuals, these are a people I truly love.
    I saw first-hand for myself who were the true criminals of Oakland, namely the OPD, I meet them at the port on that dreadful morning at about 7.30am on j12, the cops looked ruthless, fearsome, a people I would never want to live with, ever. I personally think that Mayor Quan should be in prison as a person who terrorized the citizens of Oakland. The cops who are doing this should all be individually sued and if such police have real estate property, a lis Pendens or lien should be put on their homes and seized to redress, the claims of the people they have battered. These cops are cowards, they bomb their own fellow citizens, the ones they were employed to protect, and each of these officers should labeled to become described as enemies of the state.
    The government is beginning to suggest that the OWS is a terrorist organization, I do not support flag burning, this was an error, and I offer apologies for this, that being said, nothing provides an excuse for the brutalization delivered by Mayor Quan tru the police, to the citizens of Oakland and its visitors.
    Mayor Quan you are a despot, history has a special place for the like of people in this stature, if I were the people of Oakland who were brutalized at your hand I would drag you over the hot coals of the federal court and I would legally foreclose your home or homes in repayment for the deserved redress.
    If you cannot deliver peace to the people who you are bound to serve, you should face the justice of the black letter law of our land and be made to pay for the wrongs you have caused to the people, who are the citizens of your city and inclusive for those of the citizens and other visitors of your city.
    Mayor Quan history will not forget you nor would we.

  6. ericcc

    Un-officially: All occupy groups in Nevada support occupyoakland.

  7. elcheapo

    Occupy Oakland should denounce the burning of the flag and the vandalism of city hall. I fully support the objective of challenging corporate hegemony, but seriously what do ongoing petty clashes with the police accomplish? We have ample evidence that they don’t know how to behave. Can OO be a lot more civil and organized and focus on accomplishing goals that actually help everyday people? The city hall b.s. in no way helps anyone.

  8. ajbrickman

    Some folks haven’t been acting strategically for a while. Burning a flag alienates Vets. Not consulting with workers prior to an action pisses off Labor. Threats to shut down the airport will get DHS on our asses and more importantly, anger low wage workers who will lose a day of pay. Smashing a children’s art exhibit pisses off teachers. There are a lot more examples to pull from too.

    Maybe asking ourselves the question, “How does this action/tactic build Occupy Oakland?” could help guide our decisions; both collectively and how our individual actions reflect on OO. If the answer to the question is, “It doesn’t,” then it’s probably a stupid idea.

  9. octavio

    I completely agree. I have been wondering what kind of thought went into the ‘tactics’ of Sat. This is not a country that is friendly towards squatting buildings. And this is not a city with a civilized police force. And moreover, the plan to Occupy the convention center was NOT a ‘secret’ as you claim in this article. So when you got there the Po-lice were already in the building, waiting to use force…. which they did, and will do again and again and again. We aren’t going to accomplish anything but looking like assholes if we don’t get serious.

  10. jayron

    It doesn’t make sense to me. If the action to occupy the convention center was a secret (affinity group?), then why were hundreds there? Seems the best chance of success would have been taking the building with a small group during the night, and then bringing in large numbers to hold the building.