Six Occupiers Remain in Custody with Felony Charges (UPDATED)
Today at Wiley M. Manuel courthouse, the occupiers taken into custody on J28 had their first day in court. The arraignments were split between the fourth and sixth floors, and I stayed up on six, where felonies were heard. I heard a second-hand report from the legal team that charges were not pressed against anyone arrested inside the YMCA. At the time of writing I am still waiting for confirmation from the NLG. The large number of cases (around sixty) unheard because of unpressed charges confirms that these protesters were held in jail for three days on indefensible charges.
But wait, it gets worse.
The six alleged Occupy felons heard in dept. 112 today remain in custody. They will have bail hearings on the second and third of February, which means that they will have been in jail five to six days before their first opportunity to request lowered bail or release on own recognizance (O.R.) This is of course excepting the occupier who came in on his own recognizance and left in chains: he had already bailed out at $30,000 but the district attorney raised his bail to $100,000. The Honorable Sandra Bean remanded this occupier into custody out of “fairness” to the rest of the accused.
For me, the most disturbing incident of the day was judge ‘s refusal to hear a bail motion in the case of an occupier experiencing a medical emergency. The occupier’s attorney told judge Bean that he was being denied medical care in jail, that his eyes were red and swollen from beatings he had received and that there were scratches on his face. The judge simply made a note to request a doctor’s visit for the defendant and sent him back into population.
When these occupiers are released, hopefully by the end of the week, they will each be under stay-away orders that bar them from the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center and Oscar Grant Plaza as a condition of their release. This observer, however, is not confident that we will be able to welcome them all back so soon.
UPDATE: According to a lawyer working with the NLG team, only four felonies are proceeding as a result of Saturday’s arrests. An NLG lawyer has been found to individually represent each occupier facing felony charges.
Twelve in-custody occupiers were arraigned in misdemeanor court on Wednesday, and charges were not pressed against six of them.
In all cases where charges were not pressed this week, the D.A. reserves the right to reinstate the charges for up to a year. There have been reports since last month of charges being reinstated against Occupy Oakland arrestees without their knowledge, resulting in rearrest at Oscar Grant Plaza.
Some arrested during the Rise Up Festival remain unaccounted for. As explained by defense lawyer Alexis Briggs, the only penalty faced by the police for holding a prisoner longer than the legal limit of 48 court hours is dropped charges. If the purpose of the arrest is harassment, or if the prisoner is held for longer than the sentence they would receive for the charges against them, police may not be inclined to observe the law that prohibits excessive periods of incarceration without arraignment. In a phone call Wednesday night, Alexis thanked Occupy for highlighting the hardships routinely faced by her clients, most of them poor people of color targeted by the drug war and it’s militarized police force. Inside the prison system, they regularly find their basic rights denied, their medical conditions untended, their prescriptions withheld. The abuses being reported by occupiers, she says, including physical abuse and denial of sleep and food for extended periods, are nothing new.
Anti-Repression Committee’s February 6th Event Will Bring Attention to Police Repression at the Oakland Commune
(text largely excerpted from occupyoakland.org proposals page)
Occupy Oakland has faced heavy police repression since its inception. From the first police raid on October 25th, when the camp was violently destroyed and people were brutally tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets, to the recent targeted snatchings and arrests of the last couple weeks, and finally to the attack on Occupy Oakland in its attempt to move into a vacant building which manifested itself in tear gas, rubber bullets, assault grenades and the mass arrest of up to 400 people last night, Oakland’s Police Department and City Government have made it clear that they will continue to target and repress those in Occupy Oakland in an attempt to squash the movement that challenges the exploitation and oppression of the people of Oakland and the 99%. Often those arrested have had their charges dropped after spending several days in jail due to lack of evidence. The newest tactic being used by the state is stay away orders, given to those arrested, making it illegal for those arrested to be in the vicinity of Oscar Grant Plaza (essentially making it illegal to participate in future Occupy Oakland events). Many of these people have been around since the beginning of occupy and are key organizers for different committees and actions.
While many members of occupy have come to support those arrested at arraignments, picked people up from jail when they were released, called local officials or marched in solidarity with those who have been repressed, Occupy Oakland has yet to have a chance to present our side of the facts in court. Feb 6th will be the first time that lawyers working with Occupy will be able to argue against the repressive tactics used by the OPD and to present evidence of unlawful activities and arrests.
We will begin the day with Coffee Not Cops at the Wiley Manuel courthouse starting at 9 am. At noon we will rally at OGP: speakers (including one speaker from every major sweep of the plaza since Dec. 29th) will address local and state police repression and the Prison Industrial Complex. At 1pm, we will march to the courthouse to stand in solidarity with those in court at 2pm.
We want all of Occupy Oakland to stand in solidarity with those who have been arrested and who have faced any form of police repression. Stand with us on February 6th!
HELLO OCCUPY OAKLAND…This is a communiqué from your sisters at Safer Spaces Committee!
Because of the cop violence used against our Move-In Day action, Safer Spaces is making ourselves available to folks on our Safer Spaces Dispatch/Hotline for the next couple days for various types of support.
Some normal things that happen to people after cop attacks:
Feeling “on edge”, distant, angry, numb, unsafe, overwhelmed, depressed scared, anxious, etc. Some of us might not know that these feelings are connected police violence and some people might not want to admit that we’re having these feelings.
CALL or email us! To discuss things you’re really feeling: 510-502-9466, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, we’re good in case of
*violence from within the activist community
*you’re feeling overwhelmed
*you’re freaking out
Very important if:
*you’re worried that someone might hurt themselves or someone else
And we also do:
They WANT US to IGNORE our trauma because it fucks up our groups, committees and caucuses. It can make us avoid meetings, act disrespectfully to each other, make us not believe in our work, and create conflict.
==TAKE CARE OF YOUR TRAUMA==KEEP THE MOVEMENT STRONG==KEEP FIGHTING==
Police Violence Targets Occupy Oakland Demonstration, NLGSF Demands Action From The Monitor On Police Misconduct (excerpted from nlgsf.org)
The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) condemns Oakland Police (OPD) and Alameda County Sheriff’s
Office (ACSO) violence, mass arrests and abuses against Occupy demonstrators at Saturday’s demonstration. Police violently attacked
activists with chemical weapons, so called Less-Lethal munitions, and physical assaults. Hundreds were arrested unlawfully, without
opportunity to disperse, and then detained for many hours on the street and then in buses, in stress positions, and without bathrooms, food or water. Once in jail, protesters faced inhumanely crowded conditions, abusive treatment and were denied access to legal counsel. Many remain unaccounted for, though certainly arrested and awaiting booking two days after being detained.
“It is appalling that the OPD continues to violate the law and its own policies,” said Carlos Villarreal, NLGSF Executive Director. “The police instigated the confrontation by immediately attacking the march with chemical agents, flashbang bombs, and a volley of rifle or shotgun-fired projectiles.”
As of 11 a.m., Monday, January 30, the NLGSF can confirm that at least 284 people were arrested on Saturday during Occupy Oakland’s Move In Day. The NLGSF received many reports of assaults on protesters, including an incident in which police knocked one person’s teeth out with a baton strike to the face. Police reportedly threw others through a glass door, and down a flight of steps. A videographer was pushed to the ground and clubbed.
Once in Alameda County custody, the arrestees have been held for a prolonged period under horrendous conditions, often remaining overnight in holding areas with no beds or blankets. Some arrestees were apparently held in a shower room. NLGSF has received many reports of injured persons being denied medical care and arrestees denied access to necessary medications. Women arrestees were forced to give urine samples in front of male officers, ostensibly for pregnancy testing.
“OPD and Alameda County Sheriffs Department Officers are responsible for yesterday’s violence,” said NLGSF President Michael Flynn. “The NLG supports the Occupy Movement and will continue to push back against the violation of human rights by OPD and the misinformation from public officials that follows.”
NLGSF is currently litigating two lawsuits against Oakland and Alameda County based on similar abuses at a 2010 police brutality demonstration and the October 25, and November 2, 2011, OPD enforcement actions against Occupy.