In the aftermath of a shooting in the heart of the Occupy Oakland protest in Frank Ogawa Plaza Wednesday, the City of Oakland has issued an eviction notice telling all occupiers to pack up and go home.
According to Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson, police responded to the 1400 block of Broadway just before 5 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, they located an African-American man, possibly in his 20s, who had sustained a gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital where he died from his injuries. The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
OPD Major Crimes investigators were called to the scene, in the middle of the Occupy camp and learned from witnesses that the shooting suspect was a “frequent resident at the Frank Ogawa Plaza for the past several days,” Watson explained.
The suspect is described as being an African-American man in his early 20s, approximately 5’9” and 150 pounds with short hair. He was wearing a white T-shirt at the time of the shooting. A second man is also believed to be connected to the shooting. He is described as being African-American in his 20s to 30s, 5’9” – 5’11” and 250 pounds. He had long dreadlocks with red tips and possibly had a tattoo on his neck. Witnesses said he was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt at the time of the shooting.
Oakland police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland have teamed up to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case, Watson explained.
Many Occupy Oakland protestors have claimed the shooting had nothing to do with them or the protest. But city leaders firmly disagree and tonight issued a notice of eviction to everyone in the encampment.
“You do not have permission to lodge overnight in Frank Ogawa Plaza,” the notice reads. “You must remove all tents, sleeping bags, tarps, cooking facilities and equipment, and any other lodging material from the Plaza immediately. Your continued use of the Plaza for overnight lodging will subject you to arrest.”
According to the city, the overnight campers have been directly related to crime and other problems that have arisen in the city center.
“Your actions are injurious to health, obstruct the free use of property, interfering with the enjoyment of the Plaza, and unlawfully obstruct the free passage of a public park or square,” the notice continues.
While the overnight protestors are being forced to leave the place they’ve called home for several weeks, they will likely be allowed to continue protesting in the daytime, provided they do not obstruct access to the Plaza.
Police say the campers have been violating a number of laws over the past few weeks, including obstructing passage and making fires in a public park.
“Your continued violation of these laws will subject you to administrative penalties, citation(s), and immediate arrest,” the notice concludes.
“Your continued violation of the law will subject your tents, stoves, sleeping bags, tarps, and any other belongings left in the Plaza to immediate removal from the Plaza by the City of Oakland.”
While city officials hope the overnighters will leave peacefully, police will continue to actively search for the shooting suspects. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Oakland Police Department Major Crimes, Section 1, Team 3, at (510) 238-3529.