Tuesday’s Occupy Oakland police eviction was not the first time the OPD has gotten into hot water over their harsh tactics.In 2003 protesters gathered around the Port of Oakland to demonstrate against the Iraq War.
The Oakland Police Department met them with rubber bullets, Taser stun guns, pepper spray, and motorcycles ramming through the crowd.
Nearly 60 people, including longshore workers, said police fired nonlethal projectiles including wooden bullets, stinger grenades and bean bags without provocation and without giving them a chance to disperse. Others said they were bumped hard by traffic officers on motorcycles.
Major public outrage followed the incident, and 52 lawsuits were filed against the OPD. Then, after 10 months of negotiations between Oakland police, the city attorney’s office and plaintiffs, the OPD agreed to a policy banning the use of non-lethal weapons to break up crowds.
“Overall, it’s a good policy, and I think it will benefit the whole community,” said Michael Haddad, an Oakland attorney representing 6 of the plaintiffs…
Haddad said police are “supposed to respect protesters’ First Amendment activity” under the new policy. If laws are broken, police will try to negotiate with leaders and give audible orders to the crowd to disperse before making arrests…
If demonstrators still refuse to comply, police are allowed to deploy tear gas “on the edge of the crowd,” form a skirmish line and push back protesters with batons but not strike them, Haddad said.
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