Runtime: 00:02:28 (Two Minutes, Twenty-Eight seconds)
Video Site: The Attorney Depot™
"The only good nigger is a dead nigger and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other nigger from coming in the area."
-- July 2011 Statement by Oakland Public Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna, referring to an African-American police officer.
Top News Story!
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014
Oakland, CA - Undercover California Highway Patrol officers were attempting to infiltrate a demonstration against police brutality in Oakland. Plainclothes officers dressed in protester attire raised questions about police tactics employed the California Highway Patrol. The undercover work was captured by a freelance photographer working for local media. One officer pulled a gun on the protesters after he and his partner were outed and the partner was attacked. Protesters have flooded the streets of Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco, at times shutting down freeways and devolving into vandalism and looting.
Wednesday, just after 11:30 p.m., about 50 people were marching near Lake Merritt. According to the freelance photographer, some of the demonstrators began calling out two men who were walking with the group. “Just as we turned up 27th Street, the crowd started yelling at these two guys, saying they were undercover cops. Somebody snatched a hat off the shorter guy’s head and he was fumbling around for it. A guy ran up behind him, knocked him down on the ground. That guy jumped backed up and chased after him and tackled him and the crowd began surging on them. “The other taller guy had a small baton out. But as the crowd started surging on them, he pulled out a gun.”
CHP’s Golden Gate Division Chief, Avery Browne, said he is not identifying the officers. Browne said the officer also pulled out a badge and identified himself as law enforcement according to department policy. The photographer and other members of the media and protesters reported that they did not see a badge. The photographer said the officers were wearing street clothes and had their faces covered with bandannas. Browne confirmed this and described them as “plainclothes” and not undercover. He said it was common for these officers to mimic the dress of the other protesters “so they blended in with the crowd.”
He said the officers had been trailing the crowd in an unmarked car. They began following on foot at Ninth and Harrison streets after vandals marching with the group had smashed the windows of a T-Mobile store in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood. He alleges looters made off with merchandise. Browne claims a nearby Wells Fargo ATM was also damaged. Browne said the protesters called the officers out as law enforcement officers at 27th and Harrison. Several protesters took to Twitter to say that the officers had actually instigated acts of vandalism and were banging on windows alongside others. The photographer said he did not see the officers’ actions because protesters had surrounded him and had tried to take the memory card out of his camera. Another freelance photographer, was similarly accosted by protesters.
According to Browne, a man then punched the shorter officer in the back of the head. The officer ended up struggling with him on the ground. The crowd of “about 30 to 50” continued to advance and the officer “transitioned from his baton to his firearm.” He then pointed the gun at the protesters and panned the crowd to keep them away from him and his partner, who was still on the ground fighting with an attacker. While the officer fought with the man on the ground, a blonde woman ran up and kicked him the head, Browne said. She was not arrested, but the officer suffered head injuries and is displaying concussion-like symptoms.
“'Chief, I didn’t know if I was going to make it out of this thing alive,’” Browne said the officer told him. “'They were coming after us, they had already punched my partner in the head. I didn’t know if we were going to make it out alive.’” Browne continued saying: “We know it’s upsetting, we know it’s disturbing, every time a firearm is drawn, whether in a protest situation or in a felonious car stop. But we need to understand that these officers were under attack.” Browne said the CHP was investigating the use of force. He said the officer’s arrest and events leading up to it were also under investigation. He said he has not received reports that the officers instigated vandalism. In fact, they only got out of the car to gather information on the vandals, he said.
Chief Browne said the agency and other police departments will continue to employ this tactic despite Tuesday’s incident. He said they have had plainclothes officers dressed in protester attire walking in these marches since the first demonstration Nov. 24. He said before the officers were outed Tuesday, they were able to collect enough information to prevent four more freeway shutdown attempts. “We will use all of the avenues we can to keep the public safe and gather that information so we can be responsive and be in the proper position,” he said.
He said the main objective of these officers was to collect information on where the group was going. He said they were able to gather that information from their car in the back. The officers allegedly overheard plans to take Highway 24 and Interstate 80 twice on Tuesday. This intelligence allegedly enabled other CHP officers to prevent those attempts. Protesters on Wednesday disrupted traffic at times. They also disrupted a UC Berkeley lecture given by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. However, they did not take over any freeways. Browne said the Oakland Police Department was aware of the CHP’s plainclothes operations. He said that OPD had an officer in Berkeley’s emergency operations center. Oakland police did not return calls seeking a comment.
Browne said the officer that drew his weapon is still on active duty. However, both officers are assigned to the auto theft unit of the agency’s detective bureau. The man accused of punching the officer was booked into county jail on suspicion of felony assault on a peace officer. The CHP arrested another protester in Oakland on suspicion of public intoxication, Browne said.
The march had earlier been peaceful, beginning in Berkeley with hundreds of participants calling for justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men who were killed by white police officers in Missouri and New York. The recent demonstrations were set off when grand juries declined to file charges in the cases.
Posted: 7:58 PM, Sept. 12, 2014 - Updated: Wed. Sept. 17, 2014 07:31 PM PDT
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Operation Urban Shield is a full scale training exercise for first responders. The training teaches prevention recovery and protection during a high threat in an urban area. Some of the tactics and the military style equipment have come under fire. Approximately 300 people blocked Broadway between 9th and 11th streets in Oakland on Friday afternoon in protest of the "Urban Shield" law enforcement disaster training event. The protest was held Friday outside the Marriott Hotel in downtown Oakland where part of the training took place.
"Soldiers are trained to kill. Officers should be trained to protect and serve," says Jeralynn Blueford, whose son Alan was shot and killed by Oakland police in 2012. Friday she spoke at the protest saying she wanted it known that the training officers undergo during Urban Shield is too extreme, saying officers are in a city - not a warzone. "The militarize [sic] training is not for the community. That is for the war," says Blueford.
"There are violent people out there and there are people who want to do harm to us and the citizens. For that we have to be properly equipped and properly trained," says JD Nelson, Alameda County Sheriff Office spokesman.
Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel says teaching officers these skills and the usage of the equipment is unnecessary. He says the standoffs in Ferguson were a perfect example of that, when officers used military style equipment to battle people in the street who were outraged after unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by police. "Oakland like many other communities has acquired armored personnel carriers, helicopters, night vision goggles all of this militarized equipment. I think we should send it back," says Dan Siegel Oakland Mayoral Candidate.
"Most of the time you're never going to need this kind of equipment but when you do you'll need it," says Nelson. San Jose Police say military equipment isn't needed on its streets. The department is returning a surplus military vehicle that was built to withstand IED's in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The conference began on Thursday and will continue through Monday.
Posted: March 18, 2014 3:34 PM PDT | Updated: April 20, 2014
Oakland, CA -- Late last week, the City of Oakland made national headlines when it agreed to pay a $4.5 million legal settlement to Scott Olsen, the Marine Corps veteran who was critically wounded by Oakland police during a confrontation with Occupy Oakland protesters in 2011. Yet despite the large payout (which was first reported by the Express on its website), the Oakland Police Department brass promoted two cops who were involved in the Olsen incident. In fact, one of the officers — then Captain Paul Figueroa — is now the assistant police chief, and is the second most powerful person in the department.
OPD dispatch tapes from the night of October 25, 2011 highlight Figueroa's role in the unwarranted use of force by police officers on demonstrators. At about 7:25 p.m., Figueroa told the police officers at the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway that "we're going to stick with announcements, our goal is to allow them to peacefully protest, and we'll facilitate it then best we can ...."
But then, just minutes later, at 7:28 p.m., Figueroa ordered officers to put on their gas masks — a preparation for the use of tear gas — and to make announcements to disperse the crowd of demonstrators. At 7:34 p.m., Figueroa told his officers to "watch out for projectiles, we haven't seen any yet, just watch for them." Three minutes later, Figueroa said: "We're going to let them peacefully protest, we're going to continue to make announcements [to disperse] ...."
At the time, Figueroa was addressing commanders of OPD's Tango Teams — tactical squads of five officers and one sergeant each, which were armed with shotgun-fired less-than-lethal rounds, tear gas, and flash-bang grenades. As the Express reported in December 2011, those teams also included several OPD officers who had used deadly force in the past and had been involved in numerous use-of-force cases over the years.
Then, at 7:40 on the evening of October 25, 2011, Figueroa ordered Tango Team sergeants Roland Holmgren and Patrick Gonzales to disperse the crowd. "Tango Team deploy gas, deploy gas into the front of the crowd," Figueroa said over the radio.
Eighteen seconds later, an unnamed OPD officer shot Olsen in the head with a beanbag round that consisted of lead birdshot wrapped in cloth. At the time, Olsen, 24, was standing about fifteen feet from the Tango Teams at 14th and Broadway. The firing of the beanbag round was a blatant violation of OPD's crowd control policy. Then, while Olsen lay on the ground, an Oakland cop lobbed a flash-bang grenade into a group of people who had rushed in to help the wounded veteran. Video of a dazed and bleeding Olsen being carried to safety by fellow demonstrators quickly went viral and was seen by people around the world within hours. Olsen, who is now 26, has permanent brain damage.
At the time of the shooting, Figueroa had no business being the incident commander or accepting the position: He was the head of the department's internal affairs division. As such, he would be responsible for investigating any misconduct stemming from that incident. It was a clear conflict of interest. As it turned out, OPD botched both the administrative and criminal investigations into the Olsen shooting. To this day, the department has yet to identify the officer responsible.
Nonetheless, Interim Police Chief Sean Whent, who also had previously been the head of the department's internal affairs division, promoted Figueroa to assistant chief last year. OPD brass then promoted Tango Team Sergeant Holmgren to lieutenant earlier this year.
That promotion came despite the fact that former OPD consultant Thomas Frazier had singled out Holmgren for submitting alarmingly similar reports from officers who were at the scene when Olsen was shot. The officers all said in their statements that they did not see Olsen lying in front of the barricade after he was shot. They also said they did not see the people who came to his assistance or the flash-bang grenade thrown at those people. Frazier said the reports submitted by Holmgren from officers Michael Leite, Todd Martin, Thomas Sotto, Chris Saunders, and Robert Roche were not credible.
Frazier made those comments in a highly critical report on OPD's response to Occupy Oakland. "After review of hours of video footage involving the injured party (who appears to be approximately 15-25 feet in front of the police skirmish line when he was struck and fell to the ground), the fact that no law enforcement officer, supervisor, or commander observed the person falling down or prostrate in the street during the confrontation was unsettling and not believable," Frazier wrote in his report.
Then-City Administrator Deanna Santana attempted to redact portions of Frazier's report that concerned details of OPD's misconduct, including criticisms of the department's inadequate planning before the October 25 raid on Occupy Oakland; the use of internal affairs officers during the raid on the Occupy encampment and during the protest later that day (including Figueroa); failures by the department to follow its own crowd-control policy; a seriously mishandled criminal investigation into the wounding of Olsen; revelations that Olsen was gravely wounded by a beanbag round identical to the ones used by OPD that evening; and serious misgivings from OPD officers who told Frazier's team about the department's lax attitude toward misconduct and discipline.
Holmgren also had been involved in the illegal use of force against anti-war protesters at the Port of Oakland in 2003. And he was involved in a drunken brawl with prison guards at a charity boxing event in 2010. He also was disciplined for turning off his chest-mounted camera during clashes with Occupy Oakland demonstrators on January 28, 2012.
In addition, in 2012, independent investigator Jacob Crawford and I identified Roche (whose report Holmgren submitted) as the Oakland police officer who lobbed the flash-bang grenade toward Olsen and the group of people who rushed to his aid. (Full disclosure: Crawford worked as an investigator for Olsen's attorneys, Jim Chanin and Rachel Lederman, in the case against the city. I was not involved in the lawsuit.) OPD fired Roche for his actions, but he is challenging the termination in arbitration.
Oakland police officials did not respond to questions about why Figueroa and Holmgren were promoted in light of their involvement in the Olsen incident and other use-of-force cases.
In a statement, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan expressed regret at Olsen's injuries and said OPD had since reformed its crowd control policies. "We regret that Mr. Olsen suffered these injuries and hardships," Quan said, "and I want Oakland to know that because of that evening's events we took determined, constructive steps to change our policing procedures."
Although OPD's crowd control policy was recently revised as part of the Spalding et al v. Oakland settlement for a November 2010 mass arrest of Oscar Grant protesters, the department still has tear gas, blast grenades, and less-than-lethal beanbags as part of its crowd control arsenal. Other Bay Area law enforcement agencies, such as the San Francisco Police Department, do not allow the use of tear gas.
The Oakland City Attorney's Office said in a statement last week that the city will pay $1.8 million of the settlement with Olsen, and that the city's insurance carrier will pay the rest of the $4.5 million. To date, Oakland has paid out $6.3 million in legal settlements for police misconduct during Occupy Oakland demonstrations. A class action lawsuit over the mass arrest of hundreds of demonstrators on January 28, 2012 is still in the courts.
As for Olsen, he said he's relieved that his injuries were not worse. After the shooting, he temporarily lost his ability to speak and perform basic motor functions, and while he has improved significantly with therapy, his memory, concentration, and speech are still impaired. His current medical expenses are more than $200,000. "I'm grateful this is over," he told me in an interview just before the legal settlement was announced. "It's been very difficult to think about or plan for a future during this lawsuit."
Olsen said he hopes OPD discontinues the use of flash-bang grenades and less-than-lethal beanbags so no else gets injured liked he did. To this day, being at the intersection of 14th and Broadway makes him uncomfortable, as does being around police. "When I talk to police now, most of the time I'm shaking inside," he said.
The Alameda County District Attorney never filed criminal charges against Roche or other OPD personnel for their conduct during the Olsen incident and subsequent investigation.
"There's no positive result in this," Jim Chanin said. "Scott Olsen has a permanent injury, and the city has lost millions of dollars."
When asked last Friday by a reporter if he felt like he had won, Olsen replied, "I didn't win part of my brain back that's dead. I thought I wasn't in Iraq anymore. I thought I was safe."
Suppression of the Evidence:
Google has been asked by a US law enforcement agency to remove several videos exposing police brutality from the video sharing service YouTube, the company has revealed in its latest update to an on-line transparency report. Another request filed by a different agency required Google to remove videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. The two requests were among 92 submissions for content removal by various authorities in the US filed between January and June 2011. Both were rejected by Google along with 27 per cent of the submissions. The IT giant says the overall number of requests for content removal it receives from governmental agencies has risen, and so has the number of requests to disclose the private data of Google users.
New York City Police Officer Michael Daragjati, boasting of his false arrest of another African-American male.
"Democracy is messy."-- Oakland, California Mayor Jean Quan commenting on the police raids against Occupy Oakland Activists, after previously expressing support for the Occupy Oakland Activists.
November 28, 2011 Oakland, Calif. – Occupy Wall Street protesters around the nation continued to press their case Monday amid arrests, by rejecting heated up across the nation Monday with arrests, missed deadlines and refusals to move in Philadelphia and Augusta, Maine, and a call for strikes across the University of California's 10 campuses. In Davis, protesters called for a strike of the entire 10-campus University of California system timed for a University of California Board of Regents meeting.
The U.S. Occupation!
Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2011, 06:00 PM
Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2011, 4:50 PM PDT United States/OAKLAND/New York (WCJB) -- This week, there were turning points on both coasts, from the arrest of a man at Zuccotti Park in New York on sexual assault charges, to an explosive showdown between protesters and police in Oakland, Calif., leading to injuries and dozens of arrests. "We go from having a peaceful movement to now just chaos", said a woman demonstrating in Oakland. And that chaos is reverberating across the country. Heather Gautney, an assistant professor of sociology at Fordham University who has participated in recent demonstrations in New York and Philadelphia, says the violence in Oakland has galvanized both sides. Unlike New York billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has roots in the community, and has given protesters in her city wide latitude, she says.
The Occupation! The Egyptian Occupation! Cairo's Tahrir Square!
Not since the fearful days after Sept. 11, 2001, have so many customers come in looking for protection against chemical agents, store owners say. The unexpectedly forceful police response the night of Oct. 26 spurred the mask boom. A gas canister lobbed by police is believed to have injured and hospitalized protester and Iraq veteran Scott Olsen that night, and many other demonstrators felt the sting of being enveloped in acrid white clouds. Police lobbed gas canisters again after midnight Wednesday when some protesters began wreaking havoc downtown. Journalists have also bought the masks for protection as they report on the protests, some after having been tear-gassed.
Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2011, 4:00 PM Oakland, CA -- After first supporting the camp, forcing it to close and then allowing it to spring back up, Mayor Jean Quan now appears to be leaning toward wanting the camp evicted again. Quan told residents and others gathered at a raucous City Council meeting this week that the Occupy Oakland encampment at City Hall is damaging the city. Hundreds of jobs are being lost, police are being diverted from violent parts of town, some businesses are closing, and others are choosing not to locate in downtown Oakland at all, she said at Thursday's special City Council meeting. Quan's actions during the past two weeks have left both supporters and opponents of the Occupy Oakland camp bewildered and frustrated. Her mixed messages, whether she delivers them herself or through others, indicate that she is unwilling to make a decision, Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente said. "Honestly, I think her nature cannot allow her to make a decision. The city is really suffering the consequences of that," said De La Fuente, who has emerged as the mayor's most vocal critic on the council since she took office. De La Fuente expressed grave concerns about what he said is Quan's inability to take a stand. Quan has been criticized for flip-flopping on Occupy by business owners, residents and the Oakland police union, which issued an open letter to residents Tuesday saying police were confused and did not know how to respond to protesters because of the mayor's mixed signals. The city's inability to get protesters to cooperate was apparent again Friday when campers who gathered for a morning meeting were met by Arturo Sanchez, assistant to the city administrator. Sanchez reiterated the city's concerns over a propane tank in the camp's food tent and the larger structures that have arisen, such as the medic tent, which is staffed by nurses twice a week. Sanchez told the group that at some point, "those structures will have to come down," but did not specify when. Sanchez's warning was not well received. Fire inspectors who walked through the kitchen Friday afternoon again asked campers to remove the propane tank, which was covered in a black garbage bag. "As much as you say you respect our position, please respect ours," said a camper named Dennis, 39, who had just moved from the Occupy Santa Cruz encampment. "No structure will come down without a general assembly vote."
Occupy Oakland: A City Undecided!
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011, 11:21 AM
Occupy Oakland! 'The General Strike: 70 Anarchists!'
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011, 2:00 PM "As many as 7,000 people, by police estimates, clogged the main port entrance on Middle Harbor Road and seven other gates as the sun went down, chanting slogans and halting all truck traffic going in or out. 'Whose port? Our port!' many yelled, while dozens climbed on top of the idled trucks and waved signs." OAKLAND, CA -- After a night of confrontations with police and 80 arrests in downtown Oakland, Occupy protesters temporarily blocked an entrance at the Port of Oakland Thursday morning, attempting to prevent trucks from entering. The protesters removed the fences about 9 a.m. after meeting with ILWU president Richard Mead, who appealed to their sense of fairness after they were told the dockworkers would not receive their full day's pay if they couldn't get to work. The protesters then fanned out to other entrances at the port to picket.
Occupy Oakland! 'The General Strike:' The Port is Closed!
Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2011, 1:16 PM
Occupy Oakland! 'The General Strike!' Pageviews by Countries