Protesters Clash With Police After ‘Occupy Oakland’ Camp Raided
OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Officers deployed tear gas on roughly a hundred protesters at Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza for the second time Tuesday night after law enforcement officials issued orders to disperse for the third time.
Officers were assaulted, doused and hit with hazardous materials and hit with large rocks and bottles, police spokeswoman Cynthia Perkins said.
An Oakland police officer said officers in riot gear had bright blue paint thrown on them during the rallies Tuesday evening.
Police used tear gas on protesters around 7 p.m. Tuesday, temporarily scattering the crowd. A short time later the group reconvened at the plaza.
Protesters were ordered to leave the City Hall area for the first time around 6 p.m. and the crowd complied. The group briefly gathered at Snow Park, the smaller of two encampment sites that were broken up by police early Tuesday morning.
KCBS Team Coverage Of Occupy Oakland:
Police presence was less prevalent at the smaller park and after a brief discussion, the group decided to continue the march and return to 14th Street and Broadway.
Officers at Frank Ogawa Plaza again ordered the crowd to disperse before deploying tear gas and smoke grenades.
After fleeing briefly, the group gathered near 19th Street and Broadway, before heading back to City Hall.
Between 400 and 500 “Occupy Oakland” protesters began the march around 5:20 p.m. at the main branch of the Oakland Public Library heading to Frank Ogawa Plaza with the aim of retaking the space they were evicted from.
Veteran activist Krystof Lopaur of No Justice No BART told the gathering on the steps of the library, which is located on 14th Street between Oak and Madison streets, that the plan was to start marching to Frank Ogawa Plaza, the site of the encampment.
Around 5:20 p.m., the crowd began to make its way downtown.
“We’re going to reclaim what was already ours,” Lopaur said, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
A large group of demonstrators stopped to rally near a police station at Seventh and Washington streets around 6 p.m. Confrontations broke out between officers and protesters and the police deployed smoke grenades, which caused loud noises and filled the area with smoke.
Shortly before that confrontation, small skirmishes broke out near Eighth and Washington streets. Some protesters threw paint on the officers and minor altercations occurred. At least two protesters were detained during that confrontation.
Oakland police, as well as the Santa Clara County and Alameda County sheriff’s departments and the California Highway Patrol, were at the scene.
Law enforcement officials closed 14th Street between Oak Street and Frank Ogawa Plaza during the march. BART closed Oakland’s 12th Street station because of Tuesday night’s protest.
The “Occupy Oakland” demonstrators announced earlier that they would return to the plaza every night at 6 p.m. to continue the protest.
Early Tuesday, police said at least 85 protesters were arrested when officers wearing riot gear raided the “Occupy Oakland” encampment downtown.
The arrests were mostly for misdemeanor offenses, including unlawful assembly and lodging, interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said at a City Hall news conference.
“I’m very pleased with the way things went,” Jordan said. “There were no injuries to the public or my officers.”
He said hundreds of officers from the Oakland Police Department and assisting agencies removed about 200 people from Frank Ogawa Plaza beginning around 4:30 a.m.
Jordan said that before police moved in Tuesday morning, they gave protesters supporting the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement the opportunity to leave on their own, and about 30 campers did.
Oakland police said 79 arrests were made in the Frank Ogawa Plaza area near 14th Street and Broadway and six additional arrests were made at Snow Park a few blocks away near the corner of 19th and Harrison streets.
Carlos Villarreal, a spokesman for the National Lawyers Guild, which is representing many of the protesters, said he has been told that more than 100 people were arrested, mostly on misdemeanor charges.
A speaker at the rally said several people were arrested on more serious felony charges, such as resisting arrest and battery on a police officer.
Two men who had been living at the camp at Broadway and 14th Street said they were arrested when officers outfitted in riot gear raided the plaza shortly before 5 a.m.
KCBS Team Coverage of the Raid:
Speaking by cellphone from the back of a police van around 6 a.m., Brian Glasscock, a 20-year-old Oakland resident, said police had used a flash grenade and that he also saw tear gas. He claimed his tent was ripped apart.
The second man, 23-year-old Berkeley resident Davonte Gaskin, said he had been camping with Occupy Oakland for four days, and that police had used batons to dismantle his tent before arresting him for camping in the plaza.
An Oakland resident who only gave her name as Kristina, 28, said she was tear-gassed and that people around her were hit by rubber bullets.
Jordan confirmed police used tear gas and nonlethal beanbag weapons in confrontations with protesters. When asked why police had used tear gas, Jordan said, “We deployed it to effect an arrest because some officers were being pelted with rocks and bottles.”
He said the beanbag weapon was fired after someone threw a garbage can at police.
Loud blasts were heard while the raid was under way, and Jordan said the noises came from M-80 and M-1000 firecrackers that protesters had hurled at officers.
Jordan said the use of the tear gas and beanbag weapons will be investigated by the department’s internal affairs unit, as is protocol.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was not present at the news conference because she was in Washington, D.C., lobbying for federal funding for the Port of Oakland, City Administrator Deanna Santana said.
Santana, when questioned about the cost of having so many police officers break up a peaceful demonstration when the city’s budget is so tight, said there was no choice.
“I have an obligation to maintain public safety and health, and I couldn’t maintain those under these circumstances,” she said.
Jordan said some of the protesters came from all over the U.S.
Police also dismantled a second “Occupy” encampment at Snow Park next to Oakland’s Lake Merritt. City officials said in a news release sent out Tuesday morning that Frank Ogawa Plaza had been “contained” by 5:30 a.m. and a cleanup operation was under way.
The news release stated that within a week of when the Occupy Oakland camp materialized, the city began receiving reports of fire hazards, sanitation problems, noise and unsafe structures being set up in the plaza.
By the second week, firefighters, police and paramedics were denied access to the camp and the city received a report that someone had been severely beaten, according to city officials.
“Sanitation conditions worsened, with frequent instances of public urination and defecation, as well as improper food storage,” the news release stated.
An existing rat problem in the plaza grew worse, and reports of public intoxication, fighting and sexual offenses increased, according to the city.
The city sent an eviction notice to protesters at Frank Ogawa Plaza last week, but most stayed put.
City officials said Tuesday morning that once the plaza is cleared, “peaceful daytime assembly” will still be allowed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but no camping will be permitted.
The 12th Street BART station was shut down during the raid but had reopened by 6:30 a.m. AC Transit bus service was disrupted in the downtown area and detours were set up.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)