Thursday, May 28, 2015

Oakland Police Arrest Demonstrators Marching Against Protest Clampdown

"Police made arrests as demonstrators marched in downtown Oakland on Sunday, against the city's new get-tough policy for monitoring street protests. It was the second such gathering in as many days."

Police grab protester Erika Bell, left, for an arrest from sitting arms linked with Alicia B. during a rally and march Saturday night in Oakland, California, against a crackdown on demonstrations. (photo: Leah Millis/AP)
Police grab protester Erika Bell, left, for an arrest from sitting arms linked with Alicia B. during a rally and march Saturday night in Oakland, California, against a crackdown on demonstrations. (photo: Leah Millis/AP)

Oakland Police Arrest Demonstrators Marching Against Protest Clampdown

By Associated Press

26 May 15

Police made arrests as demonstrators marched in downtown Oakland on Sunday, against the city’s new get-tough policy for monitoring street protests. It was the second such gathering in as many days.

Officers watched closely on Sunday night as the protesters marched several blocks, starting at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Spokeswoman Johnna Watson said about 100 to 150 marched before organisers ended the event, and then a group of 15 to 20 started another protest.

Watson said there were no reports of injury or vandalism, but four people were arrested and another 19 received citations.

A night earlier, dozens of protesters were arrested or cited for ignoring police orders to disband their protest.

The Oakland Tribune reported on Sunday that police cited a new policy by the city’s mayor to force protesters from the street to the sidewalk, after Oakland experienced several violent demonstrations in the past year. Oakland has hosted rallies in the streets for years, but the mayor said the new policy was needed to combat damage to property and violence.

Mayor Libby Schaaf said earlier that existing policies and laws allowed police to clear streets of protesters. Many businesses along the city’s automobile sales district were badly damaged by protesters who broke away from the main demonstration on 1 May. Businesses also sustained heavy damage during protests arising from the deaths of unarmed black men in police custody in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere over the last two years.

Tensions rose anew in Oakland on Thursday when protesters marched in honour of black women killed by police across the country. But organisers said they were surprised when police pushed them off the streets and on to the sidewalks, citing the mayor’s new policy. No one was arrested on Thursday.

Organisers then called for another protest on Saturday to demonstrate against the new policy.

“You can’t run roughshod over people because they’re protesting your oppression,” said Cat Brooks, an organiser of both protests. “You can’t push us off the streets.”

Further protests over the new policy were planned, Brooks said.

Rachel Lederman, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild who helped Oakland craft its crowd-control policies, said the new tactics appear to violate the guidelines.

“It doesn’t make any sense because saying that marches have to be on the sidewalk has absolutely no relationship to impending property damage that might occur,” Lederman said. “Obviously that would happen on a sidewalk, not a street.”

The mayor did not respond to a request for comment.

© 2015 Reader Supported News


Published on Portside (

Hundreds Challenge Oakland Mayor's Nighttime Protest Ban

Darwin BondGraham

Monday, May 25, 2015

East Bay Express

Oakland police last [Saturday] night detained 52 peaceful demonstrators — including Oakland Planning Commissioner Jahmese Myers — who were protesting Mayor Libby Schaaf's new controversial policy banning nighttime street protests. [1] In addition, numerous Oakland police officers appeared to openly defy the department's policy of wearing body cameras.

Just after sunset on Saturday, approximately 150 demonstrators marched from 14th Street and Broadway to the Police Administration Building and then to Jack London Square, taking over the street to protest the new ban. At least one demonstrator was arrested on Broadway. Lieutenant Randell Wingate said the person was arrested for refusing an order to walk on the other side of the street. Under the mayor's new policy, which civil rights attorneys say is illegal, demonstrators are not allowed on city streets after dark and can only march on sidewalks. The mayor has said that the ban is designed to end vandalism during protests. 

The Oakland Police Department deployed a large force of officers to follow the demonstrators. No vandalism was apparent, however. The rally was organized by the same group of Black women who attempted to march on Thursday night [1] but encountered the first enforcement of Mayor Schaaf's new nighttime street marching ban.

Cat Brooks, one of the organizers, told the protesters that Schaaf is trying to “quell the resistance” of Black people against police violence. “We're not going to walk on sidewalks,” said Brooks.

At 9:00 p.m., police blocked the march from moving forward at the intersection of 3rd Street and Washington in the Jack London district. Demonstrators attempted to push their way through the police line. They maintained that the nighttime ban is unconstitutional and violates OPD's own crowd control policy. 

During the scuffle, several protesters were pulled behind police lines and detained. OPD then declared the march an unlawful assembly and issued a general warning that chemical agents would be deployed. 

At least two teargas canisters were detonated near the scuffle, but behind police lines. According to Oakland Police Officer Johnna Watson, this was “to deter the demonstrators from continuing to physically push or assault officers.”

A team of OPD officers, Alameda County Sheriff's deputies, and CHP officers ran behind the protesters, trapping many of them in preparation for a mass arrest.

The demonstrators then sat down in the street in an act of civil disobedience. Some were led away on their feet, while others were carried. According to OPD, 47 people were detained and cited and 5 more were arrested. It appeared that nearly all of those cited were physically detained and cuffed.

The citations were for violation of California Penal Code 409: unlawful assembly. OPD did not say what the five who were arrested are being charged with.

“We are at a crossroads with the City of Oakland, with this administration, and with the police,” said Myers, the city planning commissioner who was among those detained and cited. “Black folks are having to fight for our lives. Low-income people are fighting for their right to stay in this city.”

Robbie Clarke, a housing rights organizer with Causa Justa/Just Cause, was also in the march and detained and cited by OPD. “To interpret the law this way, at this time, at this moment in history, Mayor Schaaf is showing that she's not on the side of Black liberation,” said Clarke. “We will continue to be out here.”

Mayor Schaaf's office was not available for comment, and a public information officer for the Oakland Police did not release a statement until several hours after the demonstrators were detained and arrested.

During the evening, it was apparent that multiple Oakland police officers were not wearing, or did not activate their body cameras, as required by the department's own policy. Geoffrey King, an attorney, journalist, and press freedom watchdog was on scene and tweeted [2] that he observed “at least half a dozen OPD officers with no body cams whatsoever.” King also tweeted that police officers had threatened to arrest journalists — a move that also would have violated city law.

The Express also observed multiple officers without chest cameras, and some whose cameras were clearly not activated.

Sergeant Daniel Royal was not wearing a camera. He said it was broken. Officer William Berger was also not wearing a body camera. He said his camera "fell off" during the protest. Officer Luke Sincerny said his body camera was in his pocket, but that he wasn't wearing it because it "ran out of batteries." 

Police officer Nicholas Calonge could be seen searching a woman's bag after arresting her. Calonge did not appear to be wearing a body camera.

Multiple other officers who were not wearing body cameras could be observed arresting and transporting people.

It seems clear that demonstrators will continue to protest Mayor Schaaf's new nighttime ban and that her new policy is resulting in more demonstrations. Councilmember Desley Brooks attended the first half of last night's march. Standing in front of the Police Administration Building, Brooks said "it looks like the mayor's order didn't work." Already there is another protest planned for tonight [3] [Sunday] in downtown Oakland.

 Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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