Lawyers Group Calls Out Oakland Police For Brutality At Protests

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Protests over the presidential election are leading to more scrutiny of the Oakland Police Department and how it handles crowd control.

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild is calling out the department for what it says was brutal treatment.

The National Lawyers Guild said there was violence against not only protesters, but against their legal observers who were documenting the protest.

For five nights, Oakland was the scene of protests against the election of Donald Trump.

They started peacefully, with hundreds of people marching downtown. As the evening went on, there were bursts of vandalism, fires burning in the street and assaults on police officers.

As many as 30 people arrested in one night.

But the Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild says it was the police who were out of control.

“I have not seen levels of that kind of brutality and oppression since Occupy [Oakland], which we know cost the city millions of dollars in lawsuits,” said Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project.

Police did declare an unlawful assembly before moving in to break up the crowds, but many protesters say they missed that message.

“Police brutalized and violated the people throughout the night by making violent arrests, by deploying tear gas without any kind of warning whatsoever,” said legal observer Jonathan Sidney.

The guild is defending several protesters against their criminal charges and says they’ll keep their eye on the OPD.

“We’re hoping to actually talk with them, work with them, and move into a place where people’s rights are honored,” said Carey Lamprecht of the National Lawyers Guild.

The Lawyers Guild said they have video of some of the alleged brutalization, but they aren’t willing to release it yet. KPIX 5 contacted Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office for comment, but so far, has received no response. An Oakland Police spokesperson said the department will be addressing the situation.

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