One day before a protest that could be Oakland’s largest in years, the city’s police union questioned the leadership of Mayor Jean Quan and said officers were confused about how they should handle demonstrators…
The Oakland Police Officers Association released a statement Tuesday noting that after officers cleared the Occupy Oakland camp early on Oct. 25, Quan allowed the protesters to start returning the next day. The raid was accomplished with the help of 16 outside agencies, and follow-up protests turned violent that night, resulting in serious injury to a military veteran who was demonstrating.
The camp is now larger than it was before the raid, with more than 300 people squatting before City Hall in more than 100 tents.
"As your police officers, we are confused," the union said.
The city is allowing employees to participate in the strike that Occupy Oakland has called, the union said, while all officers have been ordered to work.
"That’s hundreds of city workers encouraged to take off work to participate in the protest against ‘the establishment,’ " said the union, which represents 645 officers. "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?"
The union’s president, Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, said, “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.”
Oakland police are to be the subject of a formal investigation after Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull at an Occupy Oakland protest last week.
Oakland’s Citizens’ Police Review Board is launching the investigation after it received a complaint on Friday. Police in Oakland are bracing themselves for a general strike on Wednesday, which has been announced by the city’s Occupy movement and is expected to cause disruption across the city.
Olsen, 24, was seriously injured after being hit on the head by a police projectile. He is still in hospital and unable to talk, communicating only through short written messages.
A source at the review board said the investigation will begin in the next few days, and is expected to last “several months”…
Thousands of Occupy protesters are expected to gather in Oakland for the general strike and mass day of action on Wednesday. The strike aims to “shut down” the city, culminating with a march to the Port of Oakland to prevent the transit of cargo.
"Oakland was the site of the last general strike in the US," said protester Tim Simons, at a press conference on Monday.
"On Wednesday, we’re going to make history once again. We’re going to make Oakland proud."
Here’s the thread on the Officer.com forums, a popular spot for police from different departments around the world to gather and chat about… being assholes, presumably. A veritable wellspring of the best of humanity, to be sure.
Anyway, there are a few gems:
If it was a cannister…it must have bounced. Surely a direct hit from the cannister would have killed him. Before any deployment of “less lethal” riot control, there is an announcement and a way out…if you disregard the announcement…you are fair game.
Is he a soldier? I hope the Navy dude and him get court martialed if they are active duty.
Media is going crazy with this. He is a Iraq war vet. Mayor called for dispersement…and now is apologizing because someone got hurt! Duh! She just got into the position and is as wishy washy as all heck.
[This user’s forum signature is priceless: “This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can’t desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you’ve made.”]
But it is ironic that so many that claim first amendment rights are so willing to ignore everyone else’s and the law. Anarchists are the most confused people on Earth, they want rights when it suits them and ignore laws when it suits them. If they really were anarchists then might makes right, if you lose, tough crap. If a hundred thugs rape you and take all your stuff that’s too bad but they cry bloody murder if they think someone is infringing on their speech.
This is the type of ex military these things usually attract. Being his roomdog got hemmed up also screams ‘drugs’ to me. way to serve ‘honorably’ azzhat.
Well we know this idiot wasn’t a veteran of combat. He would have learned how to duck.
Maybe he should have smoked less weed and snorted less coke and his reaction time could have been a lot better and he could have avoided the canister.
And to be fair, there is a voice of reason…
He did two tours of duty in Iraq.
You know…the kid made a poor choice and got hurt. and probably for a dumb reason. It was an unfortunate accident. I’m not saying you should feel sorry for him, but at least say a prayer for his family. not like you care, but his condition has improved. His brain is no longer swelling.
People’s smartass comments here and general meaness is pretty ugly.
… but he gets shutdown by someone else in fairly short order:
If you have worked in the field you would understand. But to let you in on a little secret, cops and firefighters laugh and make jokes about a lot of messed up stuff. :P
BTW the guy is still an idiot IMO.
With people “serving and protecting” like this, it’s no wonder why some people say that ACAB.
Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran injured during police attempts to clear Occupy Oakland on Tuesday, has given a sign of appreciation for the wave of goodwill shown by fellow protesters across the US.
Olsen’s roommate, Keith Shannon, said the 24-year-old gave a “thumbs-up” after being told of the support he has received – which has included vigils across the US and marches against police brutality.
Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull when he was apparently being struck by a police projectile on Tuesday and is unable to talk. Officers from more than 15 different police agencies were involved in operations in Oakland on Tuesday, which included the use of tear gas and ‘less lethal’ weapons.
Shannon said he had visited Olsen on Sunday, and told him of the reaction to his injuries across the hundreds of Occupy protests. “He gave a thumbs-up,” Shannon said.
Olsen was hit on the right side of the head, damaging the speech centre of the brain. Video footage showed a police officer throwing a non-lethal explosive near to a stricken Olsen as fellow protesters came to his aid.
Shannon told the Guardian that Olsen is still communicating via written notes – although these tend to be short – and that Olsen’s spelling has suffered since he was injured.“He only really writes when he needs something,” Shannon said. Olsen keeps a notepad and pen beside him on the bed to issue the messages, which often consist of just one word.
From NBC Bay Area:
A website claiming to be the official site of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan appeared recently, mimicking the official Oakland website entirely, but adding a statement of support for “Occupy Oakland” demonstrations that did not come from Quan, according to officials in the mayor’s office.
But the website has added a fabricated letter purportedly from Quan apologizing to protesters for the police response to protests Tuesday, where the Occupy Oakland encampments at Frank Ogawa Plaza were raided, resulting in dozens of arrests, and police used tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke grenades to keep protesters away from the plaza later that night.
"I offer my sincere apology for ordering the violent repression of the Occupy Oakland encampment in front of city hall," the fake statement stated.
The letter, which was also distributed at Occupy Oakland demonstrations, went on to say that Quan endorsed Occupy Oakland’s calls for a general strike in Oakland on Nov. 2. The mayor’s office released a statement Saturday clarifying that the letter was “bogus.”
Some gems from the “fake” letter:
The Occupy Oakland general assembly has called for a general strike on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, and I heartily endorse this call. The Occupy Oakland encampment was just the kind of experiment in mutual aid and direct democracy that is needed. And a general strike could bring this to a new level. In fact, I want to up the ante to show I’m on the right side of history again.
Oakland was the last city in the U.S. to have a general strike, in 1946, and it was known as a “work holiday.” This harks back to the first call for a general strike in 1832: William Benbow’s pamphlet, “Grand National Holiday,” in which he called a month‐long strike. I propose we do that! … There’s plenty of wealth to go around. We just have to share it… I say ban the banks and abolish money. The people are breaking out of their acquiescence. They can make decisions over their own lives. The Occupy Oakland encampment prefigured a way of life that makes the status quo obsolete. Instead of an exploitative system based on the buying and selling of things and our time, let us create a life of ease, gaeity and pleasure for all, as William Benbow originally suggested. Let us not only shut the city down. Let us take it over and run it in a wholly new way. Together we can make every day a holiday.
If only this were accurate…
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), longtime civil rights activist, gives long and impassioned speech on the House floor in fierce support of #OCCUPYWALLSTREET and denouncing the actions of the Oakland city government. (26 October 2011)
"Don’t give up, don’t give out, and please don’t give in!"
The photo above, taken by Jay Finneburgh, shows Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen being carried away after he was struck in the head by a tear gas canister thrown by Oakland police during last night’s raid on Occupy Oakland.
Video shot at the scene shows police throwing a flash grenade into the crowd as other protesters rush to help him:
Olsen did two tours of duty in Iraq and is a current member of Veterans for Peace. He’s now listed in critical but stable condition with swelling of the brain and a skull fracture. He is also on a respirator due to the doctors sedating him in order to evaluate the possible injury to his brain.
From The Guardian:
Keith Shannon, who served with Olsen in Iraq, arrived at the hospital after protesters contacted him through Facebook. He confirmed Olsen had a fractured skull, and said he had been told by a doctor Olsen also had brain swelling. A neurosurgeon was due to assess Olsen to determine if he needed surgery, Shannon said.
“It’s really hard,” Shannon said. “I really wish I had gone out with him instead of staying home last night.”
Shannon, who is also 24, said he had seen the video footage showing Olsen lying on the floor as a police officer throws an explosive device near him. “It’s terrible to go over to Iraq twice and come back injured, and then get injured by the police that are supposed to be protecting us,” he said.
This is utter brutality. Scott Olsen enlisted in the military, fought for the U.S. in combat, and is thanked for it with a severe head injury while defending his fellow citizens from police action at home. Veterans for Peace have stood with numerous camps, including Boston, where elderly members were beaten by police.
In Oakland, despite police using multiple rounds of tear gas, flash grenades, rubber bullets and beanbag projectiles on protesters, they remained peaceful. Police denied the use of tear gas initially, but confirmed it at a press conference today. It was also claimed this started because a protester threw a rock at police, while Oakland Mayor Jean Quan stated the raid was because of “unsanitary conditions” and “ongoing vandalism” happening because of Occupy Oakland.
As for police denying the use of flash grenades and rubber bullets, the video above shows use of the flash grenade, and here’s a rubber bullet picked up by a demonstrator:
How long will this police aggression against unarmed, peaceful protest be allowed to continue? Scott Olsen is merely one of its victims. We, as citizens, must demand an end to the vicious crackdown at occupy protests across the nation. Remember, be peaceful, but stand resolute.
The tides are moving in favor of occupy movements. For example, Occupy Cleveland just won the right in federal court to occupy a city park around the clock. The judge wrote the demonstrators of Occupy Cleveland had their First Amendment rights violated and ordered the city to grant the protesters a permit.
Solidarity forever, my friends. Do not let the police scare you away.
(Hint: ‘violent thugs’ and ‘all of the above’ are also acceptable answers.)