What Oakland Police can learn from Albany: Defy Orders

26 10 2011

In Albany, New York, city police officers defied orders to arrest #Occupy Albany protesters, despite pressure from Governor Cuomo and orders from Mayor Jennings.  Albany police were supported in their defiance by New York State troopers.

“We were ready to make arrests if needed, but these people complied with our orders,” a State Police official said. However, he added that State Police supported the defiant posture of Albany police leaders to hold off making arrests for the low-level offense of trespassing, in part because of concern it could incite a riot or draw thousands of protesters in a backlash that could endanger police and the public.

Albany Police cruiser

The following is in stark contrast to OPD.

A city police source said his department also was reluctant to damage what he considers to be good community relations that have taken years to rebuild. In addition, the crowd included elderly people and many others who brought their children with them.

“There was a lot of discussion about how it would look if we started pulling people away from their kids and arresting them … and then what do we do with the children?” one officer said.

Contrast this with the extreme police violence last night in Oakland, when police shot tear gas at a woman in a wheelchair, and allegedly shot an Iraq War veteran point blank in the head, leaving him critically injured with a fractured skull.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares:

“If law enforcement engaged in a pre-emptive strike and started arresting people I believe it would lead to calamitous results, and the people protesting so far are peaceful.”

Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff, in a department-wide memo:

“At this time I have no intention of assigning officers to monitor, watch, videotape or influence any behavior that is conducted by our citizens peacefully demonstrating in Academy Park. … In the event we are required to respond to a crime in progress or a reported crime, we will do so in the same manner that we do on a daily basis.”

Commentary from AddictingInfo.org, by Wendy Gittleson:

I’m actually surprised more of this isn’t happening. Police officers are part of the 99%. Their jobs are being cut. Because of manpower shortages, they are put into more danger. Their unions are being busted. Their pensions are being threatened. More power to the police in Albany!

[Don’t miss the UPDATES in the Comments below]




3 responses

27 10 2011

From Causa Justa / Just Cause:

Occupy Oakland Transforms Ugliness In To Beauty :: Occupy San Francisco Thwarts Raid

We are immeasurably inspired. The 99% have continued Occupy Oakland and protected Occupy San Francisco. After a devastating early morning raid and a night of police repression and brutality, our people did what they had to do: they returned to the site by the thousands. This time the police stood down. In a triumphant return to Oscar Grant / Frank Ogawa Plaza, 3,000 members of the 99% held their General Assembly. It was powerful. It was peaceful. And it could not be stopped.

Across the Bay in San Francisco, hundreds gathered to stop a planned raid ordered by Interim Mayor Ed Lee. Community organizations, labor unions and progressive members of the Board of Supervisors came down to defend the camp and risk arrest. Supporters from Occupy Oakland streamed across on BART to stand with SF*. With hundreds picketing, chanting and rallying all through the night, the city wisely called the raid off.

Community organizations, labor, and faith leaders worked throughout the day yesterday, pushing the Mayors to back off and let the encampments continue and calling our people to come out and support. We told them the movement would not be deterred and the people would come back. This movement is now too big to fail.

If you haven’t already, sign the petition to permanently prevent the raid in SF.

Go visit your local encampment. Stay a while. Let’s find even more ways to connect Occupy, community organizing, labor, and all of the 99%, to keep this movement growing.


*It’s been reported that BART shutdown stations in downtown Oakland and Embarcadero, but somehow people still made it across the Bay.

27 10 2011

What the Bay Area can learn from the O.C.

“A five-hour Irvine, Orange County, CA city council meeting ended with the council unanimously agreeing that the Occupy tents on the town hall’s lawn were a form of free speech and vowing to ‘add the needs of “The 99%” to their official agenda.’ Afterwards, the mayor asked the protesters if they needed any more blankets.”

And let’s not forget that L.A. city council unanimously passed a resolution in support of Occupy LA earlier this month, full text here:

Meanwhile in
“Occupy Oakland: Officials shift into damage control”

“(Mayor) Quan had planned to speak to a large crowd that had gathered in front of City Hall on Thursday night, but she left without speaking because she would have had to wait in line, said her attorney, Dan Siegel. . .

“Civil rights attorney Jim Chanin, who has fought the (Oakland Police) department on many reform issues, said the department on Tuesday had violated its own crowd-control rules, which call for medical services to be available when tear gas and other control measures are used. . .

“‘I’m still looking into what happened,’ Chanin said, ‘but I’m looking at the response to Occupy Oakland and comparing it with all the other cities in the country, many of whom had many more people involved and just as challenging problems, and I ask why? Why are we always on national television as the example of the most egregious use of force?'”

Unbelievable denial from law enforcement amidst the sadness around Scott Olsen’s traumatic brain injury:

“‘I haven’t seen much, but given the nature of that individual’s injuries, I’m wondering if he wasn’t struck by something thrown by a demonstrator,’ said Chief Dennis Burns, of the Palo Alto Police Department.”

28 10 2011

NY Times in-depth: “Police Tactics Questioned in Oakland Protest”, 10/27/11

A lawyer for the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which has offered legal assistance to protesters, said on Wednesday that Oakland police officers “violated just about every provision of their own crowd control policy last night.”

Mr. Vitale, the sociology professor who also consults police departments in the United States and internationally, said that “less-lethal” projectiles were intended and used to create space between a police barricade and a crowd of violent protesters. But they are often not employed correctly.

“This was the big problem in Oakland,” he said. “There was no basis whatsoever for using this technology.”

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