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Ear to the Ground

Oakland Police: ‘We, Too, Are the 99%’

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Posted on Nov 1, 2011
AP / Noah Berger

Greg Reft holds a photo of Scott Olsen during a candlelight vigil Thursday in Oakland, Calif. During an Occupy Oakland protest Oct. 25, a projectile apparently fired by police struck Olsen, an Iraq War veteran, leaving him initially in critical condition with a skull fracture.

The Oakland Police Officer’s Association announced “we are confused” in an open letter to the city’s residents Tuesday. The letter blames Mayor Jean Quan for ordering the clearing of the Occupy Oakland encampment that resulted in a young Iraq War veteran’s brain injury and national attention.

On Tuesday, October 25th, we were ordered by Mayor Quan to clear out the encampments at Frank Ogawa Plaza and to keep protesters out of the Plaza. We performed the job that the Mayor’s Administration asked us to do, being fully aware that past protests in Oakland have resulted in rioting, violence and destruction of property.

Then, on Wednesday, October 26th, the Mayor allowed protesters back in—to camp out at the very place they were evacuated from the day before.

On Thursday, Quan released a statement taking responsibility for the violent confrontation, saying “I am deeply saddened about the outcome on Tuesday. It was not what anyone hoped for, ultimately it was my responsibility, and I apologize for what happened.”

As Reuters recalls, Oakland police officers have not always had the best relationship with the community. A 2003 anti-war protest turned violent when police opened fire with “crowd-control” ammunition such as wooden dowels, resulting in numerous injuries and $2 million in lawsuit settlements. In 2009, a BART police officer shot a young man in the back while he was in custody.

In their letter to the residents of the city they are tasked to protect, the police officers say “We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families.” With protesters calling for a general strike in Oakland on Wednesday, during which time they hope to shut down the city’s port, all eyes will be watching Oakland’s finest.

—Peter Z. Scheer

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By ardee, November 3, 2011 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Oh Dear:

JTraveller, November 2 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Some of the problem with some of the Occupy groups has been that the members of that OCCUPY group had never encountered the Professional Homeless before.

The Professional Homeless are NOT those made so by loss of jobs or foreclosed property or Economic Crash victims, the latter (which I refer to as the Economic Homeless) are those the Banking and Financial/Credit Industry caused.

The Professional Homeless instead are those who REFUSE to work - even in a Boom Time Economy when they are offered paid employment under Government Programs -because they do not want to be accountable or have to pay taxes or be responsible citizens because then they would have to give up all their freebies - from free food to free “emergency” cellphones, free clothes, free drugs and free medical care. Many of these deal in the Underground Economy where what they can steal, “beg”, or rip-off by lying about their homeless state to those of the Normal Population who think they are helping - by giving them handouts, is SOLD to buy drugs, other stolen property, or commit crimes.

Why? Because he says so, thats why.

The Readers Digest about 25 years ago characterized the Professional Homeless as a band of Professional Gypsies moving across America running phony Repair Scams ranging from installing phony $800 blacktop asphalt driveways (later found to be painted on at a cost of $9 to the gypsies who are gone by the time you find out), to pro beggars holding gas cans at freeway entrances claiming “to have no money for gas and they need to get to work” - (and who make as much as $200 a day for such lies), and multiple alleged home or appliance repair scams where they take your appliance “back to the shop (and never return), or get half the money for “materials costs” up front in home repair scams - and then disappear. Others steal fruit from groceries or private or commercial orchards, rebag it with stolen bags, and sell it on street corners.

Err, no, that article was specific about the Gypsy in America, not the homeless , many of whom suffer mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, and , of course, the stupidities of folks like you.

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By Cliff Carson, November 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

By JTraveller, November 2 at 5:30 pm

“@Cliff Carson- you must be tired. Read my comment again. I AM not only of the 99% - I heavily support the 99- not only in my local area - but in multiple OCCUPY groups across the Country”

Yes, I am tired - tired of reading people who speak out against the QWS movement.

I did miss you’re statement about supporting those groups.  I am happy to find that you do that.

I wish all would follow your involvement.

These OWS people are demonstrating for all of us 99%.  And I agree that there are some who slip in without living and breathing the cause.  I do think their number is small.

But even the small number can give the againers something to gripe about.

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By JTraveller, November 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

@Cliff Carson- you must be tired. Read my comment again. I AM not only of the 99% - I heavily support the 99- not only in my local area - but in multiple OCCUPY groups across the Country with everything from material assistance (food, mittens, cold weather camping advice, how to deal with fast breaking emergencies, recurring theft by non-OCCUPY thieves masquerading as OCCUPY members, etc.

  There are people using the OCCUPY group encampments not for political statements or to help - but as Supply centers to stock up on re-saleable items. My warning is to those who need to watch their stuff more closely and realize that no “everyone” who comes to your encampment means to help with the OWS Mission. There are some - who see our camps as more freebies to scarf up. This is being reported as a problem in not a few encampments.

  If you have any doubt about my support of OWS - ask D’marie (Facilitator) at OCCUPY Irvine, California, how much “JT” contributes.

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By Cliff Carson, November 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

By JTraveller, November 2 at 3:19 pm

“that’s a reply that means “Fxxx You!” in their language.”

An interesting comment.

JTraveller, does this mean you are supportive of or in opposition of, the Occupy Wall Street Movements?

And are you insinuating that a large percentage of the OWS people are “Professional Homeless”?

I admire the OWS people, wish I was able to join them.  I’ll bet you are a member of the 99% as am I.  If I were demonstrating with the movement, I would be doing it for you, myself, and all the other 99%‘ers.

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By JTraveller, November 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Some of the problem with some of the Occupy groups has been that the members of that OCCUPY group had never encountered the Professional Homeless before.

The Professional Homeless are NOT those made so by loss of jobs or foreclosed property or Economic Crash victims, the latter (which I refer to as the Economic Homeless) are those the Banking and Financial/Credit Industry caused.

The Professional Homeless instead are those who REFUSE to work - even in a Boom Time Economy when they are offered paid employment under Government Programs -because they do not want to be accountable or have to pay taxes or be responsible citizens because then they would have to give up all their freebies - from free food to free “emergency” cellphones, free clothes, free drugs and free medical care. Many of these deal in the Underground Economy where what they can steal, “beg”, or rip-off by lying about their homeless state to those of the Normal Population who think they are helping - by giving them handouts, is SOLD to buy drugs, other stolen property, or commit crimes. 

  The Readers Digest about 25 years ago characterized the Professional Homeless as a band of Professional Gypsies moving across America running phony Repair Scams ranging from installing phony $800 blacktop asphalt driveways (later found to be painted on at a cost of $9 to the gypsies who are gone by the time you find out), to pro beggars holding gas cans at freeway entrances claiming “to have no money for gas and they need to get to work” - (and who make as much as $200 a day for such lies), and multiple alleged home or appliance repair scams where they take your appliance “back to the shop (and never return), or get half the money for “materials costs” up front in home repair scams - and then disappear. Others steal fruit from groceries or private or commercial orchards, rebag it with stolen bags, and sell it on street corners.

  The OCCUPY people do not know the difference because the Professional Homeless are slick liars and can lie to your face easily - they’ve had years of practice. Whatever you give them - they will be back for more the next day, and the next and the next.

    Believe me when I say they do not need your clothing, blankets, food, money, or shelter - it’s a scam. They just take what you give them and sell it, and if you notice that they have taken shirts from you yesterday and here they are again today taking more- they will tell you someone “stole it” or they gave it to someone more needy who can’t come themselves due to “illness” or lack of transportation.

    IF you believe that some in your camp are Professional Homeless- ask the police for help in removing them. Or, refer the suspected Professional Homeless Person to the local Red Cross. The Red Cross knows the difference between the Economic Homeless and the Scam Artist Professional Homeless, and listen for the telltale “I went there, they won’t help me” excuse.

  Oh..and don’t be surprised when you hear “well, I wouldn’t want you to go against your RELIGION in helping me out” - when you “just say NO” to their money request - that’s a reply that means “Fxxx You!” in their language.

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By Cliff Carson, November 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

The 99% did not choose to be in that group.  They became members of the group because of the criminal activities of the 1%.

A Democracy cannot exist in such an imbalance as 99% and 1%.  In fact no Democracy exist today where there is this economic mix.

By extrapolation that means that the United States is no longer a Democracy.  Hasn’t been for a long time. What we are is a Country under the Dictatorship of the 1%.  And we will remain that way if the 99% doesn’t put an end to it.

You are either 99% or you are 1%. 

The OWS people are fighting for the Oakland Police and you and me.  We need to recognize that fact.

Report this

By theRevolutionCenter, November 2, 2011 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rather than dwelling on how they were confused or betrayed, the Oakland police need to just accept the fact that everyone, the mayor, the police, and some of the protesters screwed up. The question now; where do we go from here? Are we going to set ourselves up for another confrontation, or will clearer heads prevail, and work for a solution?

If police want to claim they are part of the 99%, then they can prove it. Rather than having a wall of protesters on one side facing a wall of policemen on the other, some police can simply join the protesters when off duty.

For this to work, the police in the crowd must genuinely believe in the protesters right to assemble, they cannot be planted, and they must be actively protesting beside everyone else.

A number of positive outcomes could result from this arrangement:

    1. Reasonable protesters want nothing to do with anarchists and troublemakers. Many of them would be glad to lend a hand to friendly police in ridding the crowd of undesirables.
    2. Protesting police in the crowd would help restrain police who are on duty, should another confrontation arise.
    3. Police will be able to vent their own demands, just like everyone else.
    4. It could go a long way in healing riffs that exist between the police and the populace.

There are certainly smart ways to approach the groundswell going on. Question is: Will this country be smart?

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By Magicmonkeyboy, November 2, 2011 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

If the Police want to join us, welcome them. Mistakes were made. Big ones. but once the police join, the game is over. Besides which, they are right. They are part of the 99% and it has been a great puzzle to me that after the massive offensive against unions (including police and firemen) that they would see it any other way. I marched in protests during the Wisconsin fight against Gov. Walker and his Republican cronies. Members of both Unions marched with us. Police getting arrested by other police. that says a lot.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, November 2, 2011 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Oakland Police Department #OccupyOakland Press Release Oct 25, 2011
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/100688407/Oakland-Police-Department—OccupyOakland-Press-Release-Oct-25-2011

Alleged Drug Dealers Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
OWS protesters remain tight-lipped about drug arrests, but reports of new measures to stop free-food services and enforce a work-for-food rule indicate that freeloaders, including some street addicts, are no longer welcome.

Yesterday, the NYPD’s generally sluggish twitter account fired off a tweet claiming that “Police seek 3 who threatened to kill a protestor for filing complaint vs drug dealer in Zuccotti Pk,” attaching a “wanted poster” of the three suspects, and adding that the threat was related to “a previous assault incident” in the park on October 22. Later they tweeted that two of the suspects involved in the incident had been arrested and charged with threatening a witness. The arrests were apparently precipitated by a woman’s complaint to police last weekend that a man had assaulted her.

http://www.thefix.com/content/nypd-tweets-shroud-zucotti-park-drug-dealers-mystery9187

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By jdean, November 2, 2011 at 7:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No, it only applies when the opposition is a non fascist democratic leaning opposition. The marines are a tool and symbol of US imperialism and always have been. Hopefully some more enlightened marines are beginning to see how they have been used by the powwer elites for centuries for very self serving motives.

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By SharonMI, November 2, 2011 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the young man was shot down, I saw no police officer (why dressed in riot gear facing peaceful protesters?) make any moves to help him. No, in fact, one waited until he was surrounded by Good Samaritans to fire upon him again. Confused? I don’t think so.

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By ardee, November 2, 2011 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

The justice dept. of the obama admin. have not prosecuted any of the banking
leader for allowing and encouraging 11 TRILLION in bad loans.

Lest we forget the financial community was also betting against the very derivatives they were touting as “triple A”.

As to the absurdity that is IMax.

I knew , when I posted that line that you couldn’t shut up. Do not be fooled, oh foolish one, I encourage your continued stupidities. You and your cohort are the best thing going to gain support for OWS here. No decent human being could help gain sympathy for that movement in the face of your extreme and clumsy propaganda against them.

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By louiss123, November 2, 2011 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

The justice dept. of the obama admin. have not prosecuted any of the banking
leader for allowing and encouraging 11 TRILLION in bad loans. Which is the cause
of our current problems(along with the federal reserve). During the S&L crisis 75
people went to jail!(that was only 150 billion)
They are silently laughing at the occupy crowd because they are protesting in the
wrong location.
In front of the attorney generals office would be a good start-
In front of the white house next-
The Federal Reserve bank-
Then our local congresspersons office-

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, November 2, 2011 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

This “should be approached with rationality and dispassionate reasoning.’ - ‘So SHUT THE HELL UP!” —ardee

-

Rational and dispassionate

I supported ‘Occupy Oakland’ until many amongst the crowd began throwing rocks, bottles, urine and explosives at union member police officers.

-

S.F.Chronicle

  The owner of Sankofa African Arts and Jewelry said that on the two mornings since protesters returned, her front doorway has reeked of urine.
  She said her business has declined by 80 percent since Occupy Oakland began.
  “I really, really want them to leave,” said the owner, who gave only her first name, Ellen. She has owned her business for 17 years. “What they are doing is making business worse.”
  A camp supporter overheard her lament and shouted: “You would have lost your business anyway with the way the economy is going.”
  Ellen burst into tears.

  Moji Ghafouri said business has gone down 25 percent at her Caffe Teatro. Protesters also smashed one of her windows.
  “I’m a small business,” she said. “If you’re against corporations or big business, I’m not them.”

- Rational and dispassionate

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By db Schell, November 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now that I think about it, most of our state politicians are of the 99 percent too.
So why the hell are we letting the system continue as it is. Dumb the plutocrats.

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By ardee, November 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

This is a difficult question and should be approached with rationality and dispassionate reasoning. When this spokesperson for the OPD says that they ,too, are a part of the 99% I believe that is true, they are indeed working class folks with families etc.

Yet, at the same time, my 44 years in the area contains memories of much brutality on the part of OPD officers while in the performance of their duties. There was, I recall, no physical resistance to the attempt to sweep the protestors from that park on that day ( shut the hell up Ozark and IMax, this is more serious than you two are capable of grasping) thus no need to use rubber bullets at all.

The protestors must make every effort to understand that, when they face the police, they are facing working folks, a part of the 99% they demonstrate for. At the same time, the police, not only of Oakland, but of every city police force faced with orders to deny people the right of assembly must decide whether they will act as a part of that 99% or as defenders of the 1%.

I do not ask police to ignore orders, they need their jobs as we need thoughtful and compassionate police. I ask them to use no force, commit no violence. If they wish to be thought of as a part of this then they must act as such.

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By gerard, November 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Problems involving free speech, freedom of assembly, and social justice have been begging for solutions for decades.
  Perhaps the root is the fact that, because of authoritarian governments’ habitual use of force, that use of force has become endemic throughout the the world, and has now reached its “breaking point.”
  The use of force destroys feelings of community, of caring, of understanding opposing ideas, and instead breeds fear of others, lack of fellow-feeling and anger, followed by more force.
  As shown in the recent “Arab Spring” protests, and now throughout the American “Occupy” movement, large numbers of young people are becoming aware of non-violent social action.  They are resisting—and trying to prevent—the use of force to make needed social changes.  It appears that millions of people everywhere are trying to get rid of wars and mass killing, yet their governments and powers behind governments are heaviliy invested in the use of force.
  Governments and powers behind governments are being asked to take the next step toward a less tense and fearful, less violent and destructive future. They are being asked to join their citizens and turn a page in the history of the human race by
considering non-violence as a more humane and practical method of making inevitable social and political changes.
  Apparently this is a huge turning point in history and all of us, as members of the vast community of human beings, are being asked to move peaceably in
the direction of a better world.  It will take time and patience, but it can be done. The alternataive is unacceptable to those who love life.

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By Rodney, November 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are a lot of Police officers who sympathize with the 99% and we stand in solidarity with them. Many police organizations for years have bought into the Republican con job of taxes being too high and now a lot of them realize that the problem really was that their wages are too low.They see the Republican Governor’s in Wisconsin,Florida, Ohio and New Jersey giving hundred’s of millions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires and corporations while they lay off cops firemen and school teacher’s. They see that not a single job was created by the millionaire tax cuts and as a result thousand’s of public servants can no longer feed there families or provide them with a place to live.For those of us left with a job we see ourselves losing our collective bargaining having a reduced pension and in many cases being furloughed. We see that we are the ones left to deal with the anger caused by greedy bankers corporations and the politicans who are in their pockets. We realize that the 911 Republicans who claimed to have our back, put a knife in our back.  We are the 99% and we stand with them!

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By gvdunk, November 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

faith,

You state “the United States of America.  Not a fascist country”, I beg to differ.

That 1% of the population controls 40% of the economy, leaving the remaining 99% to demonstrate against the current arrangement and being shot at does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, November 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

The “police” in most of the pictures, videos and news broadcasts I’ve seen DO NOT look like “police.” They are de-facto paramilitary brigades with incredibly high-tech weapons and other technology (brought home from our current wars).

I’m almost sad to write this: THEY ARE THE ENEMY of free speech these days. They have become the tool of a moneyed-elite who will not stand for opposition.

If the citizens of Oakland want justice, they should simply quit supporting the police union, the mayor and all the public officials that would sick the dogs of war on them….Fire them all and put people in those positions who will truly “protect AND serve” the public good.

WTF has happened to this country????

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darkcycle's avatar

By darkcycle, November 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

I was never a marine, but isn’t one of their mottos
“Shoot at one marine, shoot at us all”?

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By faith, November 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

To the Oakland Police Force:
Sirs, it was made very clear by the videos that went around the globe after the
young Iraq Vet was hit in the face by a projectile fired by the police that the some
of the police forces behavior was at the least appalling.  Particularly note that
when local citizens went to aid the young man who lay wounded on the ground,
the police continued to fire and sparks flew from their armament.  This was done
in the United States of America.  Not a fascist country.  There was absolutely no
excuse for such violent attacks from the police.  Those involved and responsible
should be charged.  They truly endangered everyone there.  Recall, all Americans
have the right to protest.  Oakland Police did nearly everything in their power to
stop that Constitutional right of protest.  No excuse.  Justice for All.  That includes
American citizens.

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