Oakland—During a press conference and several interviews Sunday, both Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said they would seek to target protesters with civil “stay away” orders in an attempt to keep them from participating in Occupy Oakland activities. Oakland’s Stop the Injunctions Coalition (STIC) is calling the OPD Chief and Quan’s plan an overt attempt to expand the use of injunctions in Oakland despite the fact that the Oakland City Council voted to prevent the expansion of civil gang injunctions pending additional assessment.
Oakland has already spent over $1 million on two temporary injunctions in North Oakland and the Fruitvale, targeting the movement and associations of alleged gang members. Oakland’s gang injunctions were met with sustained protest throughout the last eighteen months and have been widely condemned as ineffective, divisive, costly, and further institutionalizing police use of racial profiling. The OPD’s own report on the North Oakland Injunction found it to be ineffective in preventing or addressing violent harm in that neighborhood.
“The Mayor and OPD’s proposal to use injunctions or stay away orders against organizers is disturbing in many different ways,” says Rachel Herzing of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition. “They are openly targeting and criminalizing the political activity of Oakland residents. They are proposing using a police tool that has been repeatedly debunked and that the city council has specifically voted against expanding. What’s more, they are proposing that the notoriously violent OPD, which is on the brink of federal receivership, be given yet another tool to expand their powers against this city’s residents.”
In opposing the North Oakland and Fruitvale injunctions, STIC has continuously highlighted the affects of police violence on communities of color in Oakland as well as the disparities between police spending and education, sustainable housing, and healthcare spending. “The discontent around jobs, budget cuts, housing, and healthcare that are being amplified worldwide by the Occupy movement have been at the core of demands that marginalized communities have been making for generations” says Maisha Quint, STIC member and cultural worker at Eastside Arts Alliance. “Instead of addressing the roots of the situation, the Mayor and OPD once again are trying to police their way out of the problem. This has not worked historically, and it certainly won’t work now.”
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