I am not always critical of the police. In the article Occupy Norfolk Day 5 I wrote “The Norfolk Police Department has been amicable. Unlike the NYPD they recognize the people’s right to protest.”
In light of the praise I have given the Norfolk Police Department I feel that it is my duty to admonish the recent police misconduct and brutality that took place in Oakland.
As many of you know the Oakland Police razed the Occupy Oakland camp in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, October 25th. In the process they fired tear gas, flash bang grenades, and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Over 70 people were arrested and their camp in the Frank Ogawa Plaza was completely destroyed.
The entire melee can be seen in the footage below.
These flash bang grenades are considered to be less than lethal weapons. In many cases they are merely less lethal. They still kill and critically wound the public they are meant to defend.
One of the protesters, Marine veteran Scott Olsen was struck in the head by a police projectile. It is still unclear exactly what struck Olsen however, I’m assuming it was either a rubber bullet or a gas canister.
After Olsen hit the ground a group of protesters came to his aid. At that point the police continued to fire gas and flash-bangs one of which went off in the middle of the protesters who had rushed to help their fallen comrade.
The entire debacle can be seen in the video below.
As of the writing of this article I am happy to report that Scott Olsen is alive. He has suffered a skull fracture, however he should recover from his wounds.
There is a lot of denial surrounding this event. The police are claiming that they did not use any Anti Riot Weapon ENfields or ARWENs. According Eileen Hirst a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department “37 deputies who were in Oakland did not carry tear gas, concussive grenades or any other type of explosive canisters.”
In light of the videos posted in this article I am coming out and calling Hurst a boldfaced liar. It’s not like the projectiles were thrown by police. Explosions are clearly audible in the footage.
Just so you can see the weapons being used against peacefuller protesters please take a look at an Arwen.
After much bad press Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has allowed Occupy Oakland back into Frank Ogawa Plaza which the protesters have dubbed Oscar Grant plaza. This name change is in honor of a police shooting victim and Oakland resident who was shot in the back after he had already been detained.
I covered the Oscar Grant story in the article Rampant Police Misconduct Posted below is a short excerpt from that article.
Officer Johannes Mehserle shoot an unarmed Oscar Grant in the back. This case did go to trial and On July 8, 2010, the jury returned its verdict: Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
The Occupation has only just begun and it’s not going away. Like our parents in the 60s we will no longer stand idly by while our world falls apart. They can set the dogs on us and we will not abate. They can gas us and we will not give in. They can literally crack our skulls but we will and we must fight on.