Activists Allege Police Used Excessive Force
Oakland, Calif. (KCBS/BCN) Community activists and National Lawyers Guild members are alleging that the Oakland Police Department and other agencies used excessive force in responding to the protest after the verdict in the trial of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.
They said on Wednesday they are still contemplating legal action against the department and are calling for local officials to hold hearings to investigate how officers acted during the protest.
The protests began peacefully, but eventually turned violent and resulted in property damage to many businesses.
Rachel Jackson of the Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant said the protest in downtown Oakland last Thursday night “was a beautiful event” but asserted that it was marred by police officers who knocked down peaceful protesters.
Carlos Villareal, the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s San Francisco office, alleged that police were violent and unprofessional.
But Oakland police spokeswoman Holly Joshi said the department has only received one complaint so far.
“Any allegations of police misconduct will be investigated forcefully,” Joshi said.
Joshi said she believes officers showed restraint despite being taunted, spat upon and having bottles thrown at them.