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Criticism Mounts Over ‘Occupy Oakland’ Violence; Police Chief Defends Use Of Force

OAKLAND (CBS SF) –  Oakland’s acting police chief defended the use of force this week during Occupy Oakland protests as national criticism mounted over his and Mayor Jean Quan’s actions in breaking up protester encampments.

In a statement Friday titled “Message to the Community,” Chief Howard Jordan said, “The decision to use any level of force is never taken lightly and certainly was not in this situation.”

“As a community, we must preserve our position that any act of assault against officers or each other in our community is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated,” said Jordan.

Related Coverage:
Photo Gallery: Occupy Oakland Protests
Tear Gas In ‘Occupy Oakland’ Clash May Have Violated Police Policy
Filmmaker Moore Addresses Oakland Protesters

His statement Friday comes as the chief and Mayor Jean Quan face harsh criticism over their handling of Tuesday’s rally. Quan has become the target of national criticism, much of it from the political left, over the encampment raid and violence that followed Tuesday night.

“The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart described the police action against the protesters supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement as heavy-handed, while Current TV anchorman Keith Olbermann called on Quan to fire Chief Jordan or resign.

“Terrible, if she was a football coach on and NFL team she would be replaced,” former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown told Phil Matier Friday.

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore also joined the Occupy Oakland protests Friday afternoon, and encouraged them to continue taking to the streets.

“When the history of this movement is written – this week in Oakland, California will go down as a watershed moment,” Moore said. “People across America were disgusted by what they saw here… millions have watched it and millions were inspired by what they saw, because you didn’t go away.”

Liberal political action group has also started airing an ad that calls for Quan to “Stop the police brutality.”

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

Chief Jordan’s statement added, “Under the circumstances of this event our officers used what they believed to be the least amount of force possible to protect themselves and gain control of the situation. During incidents of this magnitude, police training, tactics and policy is scrutinized, and as the chief of police I take full responsibility for the actions of my officers.

Jordan said all allegations of misconduct and excessive uses of force are being thoroughly investigated by internal and external investigative sources.

He said, “I am confident in our abilities to conduct thorough and fair investigations into the actions of police personnel during the ‘Occupy’ events.”

Several protesters were injured Tuesday night, including 24-year-old Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen from Daly City, who was critically hurt when he was hit in the head with a projectile fired by police.

Olsen was being treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was listed in fair condition as of Thursday.

Quan and Jordan said they have both visited him at the hospital and apologized that he was injured.

Oakland police officials said several officers suffered minor injuries when protesters assaulted them with bottles, rocks and hazardous materials.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

Jordan said he has received both positive and negative comments from around the country and world following the protest Tuesday night.

He said he is issuing a general message to the community because “the volume of these correspondences far exceeds our ability to respond to each one individually.”

Jordan said the Oakland Police Department “will continue to place the highest value on policing in a manner that is both constitutional and ethical in its mission to provide a safe place to live, work, and play, free of crime and the fear of crime.”

Quan said a full review of all the police tactics that were employed Tuesday night is under way and the results will be announced next week.

The mayor said she attempted to address protesters in the plaza Thursday night but they didn’t allow her to speak. Quan said she still wants to talk to protesters and “ask that we enter into a dialogue.”

Quan said she also would like the protesters to talk with merchants in downtown Oakland who are concerned that the demonstrations, which began on Oct. 10, are hurting their businesses.

She said people “are afraid to come downtown” to shop and some businesses are not renewing their leases.

Quan has had a difficult week because some people have criticized the way she has handled the Occupy Oakland protests and a group launched a petition to have her recalled from office.

But Quan said she has no plans to resign, saying, “I always said this is a tough job” and “I have a job to do.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS SF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

<strong>Related Coverage:</strong>
<a href=””>Photo Gallery: Occupy Oakland Protests</a>
<a href=””>Tear Gas In ‘Occupy Oakland’ Clash May Have Violated Police Policy</a>
<a href=””>Filmmaker Moore Addresses Oakland Protesters</a>

  • Common Sense Not too Common

    This is a perfect example of the Liberal Mental Illness thinking the bizarre misguided thinking that is at the core of chaos griping and rotting this nation. Jordan is correct and should be awarded a job well done stopped virtual anarchy in its tracks.

  • Dale Hoffman

    THe chief is LYING, he knows he is LYING, his officers started it i was there i saw it happen. He must resign or be fired, and Mayor Quan needs to be recalled or resign. SAHME ON THE OAKLAND PD

  • Helen

    I get it…It is okay to pelt the police with paint bombs, rocks and bottles…IT IS NOT OKAY FOR THE OPD TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER BY ANY MEANS AVAILABLE!!! Where are your priorities. The protestors have every right to protest in an orderly and lawful manner. They do not have the right to destroy property, block entrances to buildings or to create a health and safety hazard. They were given ample warning to remove themselves from the property. The law abiding protestors did so. The ones who stayed wanted a confrontation and agitated for a confrontation…but that’s okay…the OPD are always in the wrong! Save me from such backward thinking.

    • Tom101010

      I couldnt have said it better myself Helen. Well put

  • an oakland taxpayer

    what about the Oakland taxpayers? Why has this occupy “wall street’ become an occupy “Oakland?” Small businesses are paying a loss, taxpayers foot the bill, and Michael Moore comes with his own body guards. I respect Michael Moore, but something is wrong with this picture. What does Oakland, a progressive yet cashed strapped city have to do with New York’s wall street?

    • Me

      “progressive, yet cash strapped city”


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  • Brown Bratwurst

    Occupy restrooms.

  • Me

    Fumigation of the Oakland flea party was long overdue.

  • #OccupyWallSt Roundup, Day 59 -

    […] were arrested nationwide. [Daily Kos, MSNBC, CNN]It was the second eviction in Oakland, after a violent confrontation on Oct. 25. While this eviction was far more peaceful, the chief legal adviser to Mayor Jean Quan, Dan Siegel, […]

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