This is what a Police State looks like
The Oakland Police Department that oversaw use of excessive force against Occupy Oakland human rights defenders on October 25 is now hiding information about what really happened, refusing to hand it over to ACLU according to the civil liberties organization issued a statement Tuesday telling OPD to start following its own policies.
“The ACLU of Northern California and the National Lawyers’ Guild sent a public records request about OPD’s use of force on the night of October 25, 2011 on demonstrators supporting Occupy Oakland. The response we received is both infuriating and misguided,” ACLU says.
“The department had claimed the records are part of an open, ongoing investigation; the ACLU contends the law exempts only records pertaining to criminal investigations, while these records had to be prepared pursuant to the department’s crowd-control policy,” reportedMercury News Tuesday.
Before admitting it was refusing to supply almost all the information, the OPD’s Chief of Staff prefaced the Department’s response to ACLU with this statement:
“The Oakland Police Department understands that the greater and more unfettered the public official’s power, the greater the public’s interest in monitoring the governmental action. We recognize and acknowledge your October 26th, 2011 request furthers our commitment to this obligation.”
ACLU says, “Then the email went on to say that OPD was refusing to provide almost all the information that we had requested.”
“Not only is this a complete contradiction, it also reveals something very troubling. Police officers actually do not have “unfettered” discretion in using force against political protesters. It’s constrained by, among other things, the constitutional prohibition against excessive force and OPD’s own Crowd Control Policy, which as we’ve previously noted, was repeatedly breached that night.”
“Juxtaposed against OPD’s decision to withhold reports documenting its use of force that night — a decision we think misguided as a matter of law and policy (see our letter back to OPD today) — OPD’s response underscores the gap between its policy and practice. The agency has a great Crowd Control Policy, but doesn’t abide by it. The agency celebrates its “commitment” to “the public’s interest in monitoring … governmental action,” but withholds essential documents.
ACLU concludes, “It’s time for OPD to close the gap and live up to its word. Given the seriousness of what happened on October 25, 2011, the public has a right to full disclosure.
“And while we’re on this topic, OPD should really start following its own policies.”
Only a drill?
Crowd control and other emergency urban warfare drills had been activated weeks before the Oakland police assault, in unprecedented form. For example, NYPD had a Level 4 mobilization drill early in the month.
(Watch Yotube video on this page, “NYPD Level 4 mobilization drill – ESU(s.o.d) vs. Crowd control”)
Metro Denver saw “only a drill” with the nation’s largest “terror emergency exercise,” Operation Mountain Guardian, in late September. There, a full-scale emergency exercise with coordinated, organized attack by a multitude of agencies against “terrorists,” completed the drills, including with mock casualties. FOX News reported 107 agencies particiated in the organized urban warfare attacks that took one and one-half years to plan.
(Watch news report, “Largest Martial Law Drill Ever Commences as Economy Begins Descent” Youtube video)
On October 25, Occupy Oakland came under hostile attack by 500 Oakland and other police who turned downtown Oakland into a war zone of explosions, smoke and screaming. Earlier that day, Riot Police had torn down Occupy Oakland’s encampment. The day ended with many rights defender injuries, one of whom was in critical condition after shot in the face according to citizen reporter videos.
“Human rights defender, Iraq Veteran Scott Thomas Olsen, 24, was stated by hospital officials to have been in critical condition with a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain damage risk after police allegedly shot him in the face in the attack on Occupy Oakland following its peaceful demonstration of over 1000 protesters exercising Fifth Amendment Rights.”
On October 26, the Berkeley Daily Planet reported that Berkeley Police participated in “the assault” by Oakland police on Occupy Oakland. On the 26th, Oakland Tribune also reported outside police agencies, including from Berkeley and UCPD that had been called to aid Oakland police.
Later on October 26, it was learned that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan praised the highly organized violent attack with grenades, chemical and other weapons on the peaceful Occupy Oakland protesters.
The assault on Occupy Oakland event reportedly included “unprecedented mobilizations” including: military, mutual aid mobilizations, with law enforcement from all over the state, Homeland Security and some 500 police.