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Forum Post: Woman hit point blank in head with tear gas canister; how do we respond to Oakland violence

Posted 9 years ago on Oct. 26, 2011, 12:02 p.m. EST by duranta (52) from New Orleans, LA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Activists weren't just tear gassed...they were violently attacked and police attempted to prevent them from helping those who were either immobilized or coudn't move quickly enough. Here is the entire In these Times article on this event. What will be our response?


Published on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by In These Times Police Turn Oakland Into War Zone by Allison Kilkenny Incredible footage emerged from downtown Oakland last night - not of basic law enforcement efforts to maintain public "health and safety" as the police have been claiming - but of a war zone in which police shot tear gas, bean bags, wooden dowels, flash grenades, and rubber bullets at protesters.

POLICE VIOLENCE: Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement carry away a protester, who was shot point-blank with a police gas canister near the Oakland City Hall. (AFP) Rather than using the weaponry once in a final effort to subdue the crowd, officers reportedly used them over and over again in what @OccupyOakland describes as a "relentless" assault on the thousands of activists gathered near City Hall.

"The city remains committed to respecting free speech as well as maintaining the city's responsibility to protect public health and safety," Oakland police said in a statement Tuesday.

The "safety" concerns are the usual complaints levelled at the Occupy movements: sanitation issues, improper food storage, graffiti, litter, and vandalism, although OPD added accusations of fighting, assaults, and "threatening/intimidating behavior." Yes, you read that correctly. OPD is accusing the protesters of using "threatening/intimidating behavior."

The police claim they were ever-so-distressed that they couldn't get medical responders through to attend to the wounded protesters, and they ultimately expressed this concern by shooting the remaining activists with tear gas and rubber bullets. Reportedly, activists retaliated by "throwing paint" on police officers.

Oakland Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said that a total of 102 arrests have been made so far, but as of last night that number was still increasing. Eighty-five of those arrests were made early Tuesday when officers raided the Occupy Oakland encampment at Oscar Grant plaza along with an annex in Snow Park near Lake Merritt.

During the assault, police dressed in full riot gear as if preparing to battle a zombie horde or terrorist cell (photo by @garonsen).

Footage of the flash grenades and tear gas being used against protesters:

A steadier version of more or less the same thing:

Terrifying footage that allegedly shows a veteran who suffered a head wound from a rubber bullet. The cameraman can be heard screaming, "medic!" as he desperately tries to get the man to say his name.

Photo of a protester allegedly shot by a rubber bullet (@OccupyOakland)

Protesters speaking with some OPD after the very first raid in which eighty-five individuals were arrested. Here, a police officer expresses he was just following orders.

And I could go on. This kind of stuff keeps rolling in every five minutes on Youtube. As always, it's important to remember that regardless of police accusations, the charges against protesters listed above (sanitation issues, graffiti, etc.) are relatively minor offenses given the nature of this police retaliation in which OPD turned downtown Oakland into a war zone.

These are the consequences of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. It's no wonder the culture of activism remained dormant in America for so many decades.

© 2011 In These Times



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[-] 2 points by duranta (52) from New Orleans, LA 9 years ago

Most of the comments miss the point. The degree of repression is equal to the effectiveness of the movement. We were becoming too effective at exposing the criminal inequalities of our system. This was a coordinated attack, by both major parties, on several occupations last night. Oakland's was the most violent. Obama dined just miles away as people were violently assaulted. Again, how do we respond?

[-] 2 points by Fresh2Death13 (207) from Windsor, ON 9 years ago

no if you wanna respond in an effective way that fights them is to witness the violence bring your camera your cellphone never stop recording and never give over to intimidation. You must educate yourself on your state and local laws regarding use of a camera on a police or peace officer. Some would have you believe it is illegal to film them when It is NOT do your best to smuggle the footage out expose them at every turn we are 99% and we are with you

[-] 1 points by Restorefreedomtoall1776 (272) from Bayonne, NJ 9 years ago

When rubber bullets become real bullets, we will know without any doubt where we stand with these Enemies of Mankind, these depraved pawns of Wall Street criminals.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 9 years ago

The corporate controlled police forces are doing our work for us,. proving that they are there only to protect Wealth and Power,. not The People, not the 99%. They keep teaching more people these facts,. and help grow the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Thanks Oakland Mayor and Police Chief !
shame on the tools that carry out corrupt orders to repress the people.

[-] 1 points by mgiddin1 (1057) from Linthicum, MD 9 years ago

Nonviolent civil disobedience.

If we react violently, it will give them an excuse to usher in a police state and martial law.

[-] 1 points by sideshow (0) 9 years ago

How desensitized we have become. These are fellow citizens not an enemy in a war zone. Even if you disagree with them it was overkill. How do you people house train a puppy? Smack his nose with a crowbar?

[-] 1 points by frankchurch1 (839) from Jersey City, NJ 9 years ago

That happens in the occupied territories a lot, but Hamas violence isn't helping a peace treaty.

We need to show that we are for peace. It works.

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 9 years ago

You must realize by now that OWS has no strategy other than sending folks out to get trashed by cops. They will not discuss the method by which to meet demand and solve problems. It is time for article 5 of the US constitution and has been for over 80 years. BIGTIME. We have not had a constitutional government since after the civil war, and if we had one, none of this would be happening. Article V now, before it is too late.

Congress is very afraid of an Article V.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_to_propose_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution "Congress acted preemptively to propose the amendments instead. At least four amendments (the Seventeenth, Twenty-First, Twenty-Second, and Twenty-Fifth Amendments) have been identified as being proposed by Congress at least partly in response to the threat of an Article V convention."

Our first right in our contract is Article V, the right to have congress convene delgates when 2/3 of the states have applied for an amendatory convention.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.-------

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 years ago

protesters should not be throwing bottles and firing paint balls

[-] 0 points by libertarianincle (312) from Cleveland, OH 9 years ago

To quote my son's favorite book:

"Its fun to have fun, but you have to know how"

A violent backlash will bring more violence and tarnish the movement.

[-] 0 points by cheeseus (109) 9 years ago

One way is to respect the laws. If you don't agree with the laws you have options. One option is to do what you want and the police will use force. The other option is to seek ways to change the laws through the legal system.

A protest is a great voice, but you haven't won the war yet. You are still bound by the laws you want to change.

[-] -1 points by happybanker (766) 9 years ago

To the Police, I would say:

Peaceful protests are fine but we have laws and rules that govern when, where, and how. Regardless of whether Mommy and Daddy made them follow rules, the Police should and will. If they want to cry "Brutality", then give them something to cry about. If you become threatened with violence, put them down. Stay Strong! The real 99% is behind you.

[-] -1 points by jay1975 (428) 9 years ago

When the police say to leave, leave.

[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 9 years ago

slave mentality.

[-] -1 points by jay1975 (428) 9 years ago

Big difference between being a slave and getting my ass kicked for no reason.

[-] -1 points by Joeschmoe1000 (270) 9 years ago


Nice shot! 10 pts.

[-] -1 points by Rob (881) 9 years ago

She should have ducked.