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Occupy Oakland Rolling Coverage, Wednesday; Iraq Vet Critically Injured During Unrest

| October 26, 2011
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Thursday, 11:15 a.m. Post on the political fallout for Jean Quan

10:30 p.m. No new developments in San Francisco or Oakland as of this writing, and it’s time for us to call it a night. We’ll be back in the morning with the latest developments on Occupy Oakland and San Francisco. Come back to News Fix and tune in to KQED News on the radio and online.

10:10 p.m. Our reporter headed back to the station to file sound for tomorrow morning’s radio newscasts. According to KTVU live on the scene at OccupySF, city officials are at the encampment, and others — including Mayor Ed Lee — are on their way. Protesters and officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of the events that took place in Oakland Tuesday night. As of this posting, police have not moved in to break up the encampment in San Francisco.

@EastBayExpress


Quan ducking questions about whether ppl can stay and what OPD will do if they try. #occupyoakland
Oct 27 via EchofonFavoriteRetweetReply

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9:10 p.m.

@shoeshine


25 CHP cars just rolled down14th and clay on way to #occupyoakland. Looks like city admin called for mutual aid after all.
Oct 27 via Twitter for AndroidFavoriteRetweetReply

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8:42 p.m. The East Bay Express tweets a picture of the first tent being erected at the plaza after the police raid on Tuesday morning. Oakland North tweets a picture from another angle. Josh Richman, an Oakland Tribune reporter tweets yet another angle.

A speaker at the General Assembly microphone said she received a text asking for more support at Occupy SF’s encampment.

“Calm down people,” the speaker said. “We have this space legally for two more hours,” alluding to the 10:00 p.m. curfew in effect for Frank Ogawa Plaza.

8:30 p.m. Multiple sources have reported that the general assembly has broken into groups of 20 to discuss logistics for a general strike on November 2.

Here is a livestream broadcast:

Watch live streaming video from occupyoakland at livestream.com

8:15 p.m. There haven’t been any confirmations of police moving in yet, but the Oakland Tribune tweets that police are staging at parking garages nearby. There are rumblings on Twitter that Occupy SF will be raided tonight.

The New York Times notes that other cities are growing weary of the protests too.

Across the bay, meanwhile, in the usually liberal environs of San Francisco, city officials there had also seemingly hit their breaking point, warning several hundred protesters that they were in violation of the law by camping at a downtown site after voicing concerns about unhealthy and often squalid conditions in the camp, including garbage, vermin and human waste.

In Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed ordered the police to arrest more than 50 protesters early Wednesday and remove their tents from a downtown park after deciding that the situation had become unsafe, despite originally issuing executive orders to let them camp there overnight.

Read the full article, “Some Cities Begin Cracking Down on ‘Occupy’ Protests.

Fence stacked

Piles of fencing that surrounded the plaza was stacked nearby. Credit: Mina Kim/KQED

7:47 p.m. The crowd has doubled from yesterday says Mina Kim, at least 1,000. Some people were pushing port-a-pottys back on the plaza, but no signs that anyone was pitching tents.

7:38 p.m. The numbers of tonight’s demonstration on the plaza range from 500 to 3,000, estimated The Bay Citizen, pointing to Wired’s How-To guide on estimating crowds.

7:15 p.m. Oakland North is reporting that the metal fence surrounding the plaza has been completely taken down, noting that protestors were “careful” about taking down the fence.

Mina Kim says that even though the fence is down, and stacked neatly in some places, some people did not agree with that decision. One man was frustrated and said it is a bad reflection on the movement to destroy city property. Another person commented that there are children and elderly people in the crowd, and taking down the fence will only attract police, making it difficult for them.

One woman yelled, “Let the grass grow back, there is fertilizer on it.” Small green signs attached to the fence noting the grass had been treated with chemicals.

7:02 p.m. Protestors have pushed over a portion of the fence that surrounds the Plaza, but it remains mostly intact, Mina Kim told us. People are running across the grass, which Mayor Quan said has been chemically treated to try to regrow the grass there. Kim reports the strong smell of human feces in the muddy, wet grass.

The Huffington Post tweeted a picture. The East Bay Express tweets this photo.

6:49 p.m. Mina Kim reports the General Assembly is underway, and sent this photo around 6:00. The crowd is very large, more than 1,000, tweets Josh Richman, reporter for the Bay Area News Group.

Protestors gather outside Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza

Protestors gather outside Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza. Credit: Mina Kim/KQED

The Effect of Mayor Jean Quan’s Decision

 

The East Bay Express’ Robert Gammon calls Mayor Quan’s handling of the police raid “a big mistake.”

Quan also badly misread how the police raid would not only be viewed by her progressive supporters in Oakland but by liberals around the nation and the world. Yesterday, the Alameda County Labor Council, which represents all union members in the area and has generally supported the mayor, condemned what Quan and police had done, noting rightly that the mayor will now be viewed as being “on the wrong side of history.”

6:30 p.m. Here are some of the key points from this evening’s media briefing with Mayor Quan and Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, according to reporter Mina Kim who was in attendance:

    • Mayor Jean Quan seemed to dodge the question of whose idea it was to raid the demonstrators’ encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza early Tuesday morning.
    • Quan repeatedly said that she was saddened by what’s happened because she supports the goals of the movement, and that it wasn’t until she heard a report about a man getting hit with a 2×4 in the encampment that she thought that action needed to be taken.
    • Interim OPD Chief Howard Jordan thanked officers for their long hours.
    • Referring to the clashes between police and protesters on Tuesday, Chief Howard said that the crowd had been given multiple opportunities to disperse before the police deployed tear gas and “gas balls.”

When asked about Mayor Quan’s whereabouts during the raid, she said that she was in Washington DC trying to secure grant money. She also noted that based on the information she had in DC, the break up of the encampment had seemed to go peacefully.

5:47 p.m. Occupy Oakland protesters are vowing to return to Frank Ogawa Plaza at 6:00pm, despite a police presence and a chain link fence around the area. Reporter Mina Kim is out in Oakland tonight, and we’ll have periodic updates this evening right here. In our 5:30pm radio newscast, we heard from some of the protestors, and we spoke with the Oakland Tribune’s Tammerlin Drummond about the situation, and about Mayor Quan’s response. Have a listen below.

Iraq Vet Critically Injured During Unrest

5:33 p.m. The Oakland Tribune has posted an article about injured veteran Scott Olsen. In it the authors assert: “Olsen appears to be the first serious injury nationwide of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to virtually every major American city…” Read more.

Olsen appears to be the first serious injury nationwide of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to virtually every major American city…

5:27 p.m. This just came across the wire from the Associated Press:

Iraq war vet injured during Oakland protests

(AP) — Oakland city officials are allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters back into a plaza where police raided and cleared a 15-day-old encampment, but they will continue prohibiting people from spending the night there.

Mayor Jean Quan announced the conciliatory gesture Wednesday, hours after officers in riot gear clashed with and fired tear gas at demonstrators who had tried to re-establish the disbanded camp.

Quan says Oakland supports the protesters’ goals, but had to act when a small number of them threw rocks, paint and bottles at the police.

A 24-year-old Iraq War veteran was critically injured by a projectile that struck him in the head during the chaotic conflict Tuesday night.

Police Chief Howard Jordan says an internal review board and local prosecutors have been asked to determine if officers on the scene used excessive force.

5:04 p.m. At this evening’s press conference, Mayor Jean Quan acknowledged community concerns about use of excessive force by police, and said she wants the police force to look into the incidents.

Quan said: “I asked the the Chief to investigate that, we are treating it very seriously. On the other hand, I think the story that’s not told is that the police accommodated demonstrators in several demonstrations throughout the last couple of weeks.”

Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan repeated assertions he made yesterday that officers fired tear gas, projectiles and flash bang grenades only after protesters threw objects at police.

Jordan said that an incident in which a man was critically injured, possibly by a police projectile, is under investigation.

We’ll be speaking with the Oakland Tribune’s Tammerlin Drummond about the Occupy Oakland protests and the police action at 5:30 on KQED Public Radio.

4:45 p.m. Oakland officials are holding a media briefing at this hour to defend their handling of protests following the eviction of the Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall yesterday. Reporter Mina Kim is at the press conference. Stay tuned for her reports. In the meantime, the Bay Citizen is live tweeting.

3:18 p.m. Reporter Thomas Peele of the Bay Area News Group tweeted this 15 minutes ago:

2:53 p.m. Mayor Jean Quan and Interim Chief Howard Jordan are set to talk to the media at 4:30 p.m., a press conference that has been moved back a couple of times today.

1:14 p.m. There is a disturbing video circulating on the web of a police tear gas attack last night. The scene is extremely chaotic, and at the end the camera focuses on a man, who appears to be stunned and bleeding from the head, being carried off by protesters.

 

Another video of the same incident from a different perspective is also getting a lot of attention online. In the slow motion footage, you can see an object lobbed in the direction of demonstrators, and then a small explosion that sends demonstrators running. It’s not yet confirmed what the object thrown was, and if it is the same object that exploded. But it appears that it is the object that injured Mr. Olsen.

 

KQED’s Shuka Kalantari today spoke to Adele Carpenter of the Civilian Soldier Alliance, and to Josh Shepherd, of Veterans For Peace. Both say that the man in the video is Scott Olsen, also of Veterans For Peace. Carpenter says she’s been at the hospital waiting on Olsen since 11 p.m. last night. The last she heard, Olsen had a fractured skull and doctors were debating whether to perform surgery.

Earlier, Shuka Kalantari spoke to Highland Hospital Public Information Officer Kurt Olsen (no relation to Scott Olsen). He confirmed that Scott Olsen was admitted to the hospital late last night. He says that Olsen is in critical condition.

Indybay has posted photos of what it says is an injured Olsen. Along with the photos the poster says this:

this poor guy was right behind me when he was hit in the head with a police projectile. he went down hard and did not get up. the bright light in the second shot is from a flash-bang grenade that went off a few feet from us. he was eventually taken to highland hospital.

Veteran’s For Peace has issued a press release:

Late last night, Scott Olsen, a former Marine, two-time Iraq war veteran, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, sustained a skull fracture after being shot in the head with a police projectile while peacefully participating in an Occupy Oakland march. The march began at a downtown library and headed towards City Hall in an effort to reclaim a site—recently cleared by police—that had previously served as an encampment for members of the 99% movement.

Scott joined the Marines in 2006, served two-tours in Iraq, and was discharged in 2010. Scott moved to California from Wisconsin and currently works as a systems network administrator in Daly, California.

Scott is one of an increasing number of war veterans who are participating in America’s growing Occupy movement. Said Keith Shannon, who deployed with Scott to Iraq, “Scott was marching with the 99% because he felt corporations and banks had too much control over our government, and that they weren’t being held accountable for their role in the economic downturn, which caused so many people to lose their jobs and their homes.”

Scott is currently sedated at a local hospital awaiting examination by a neurosurgeon. Iraq Veterans Against the Wars sends their deepest condolences to Scott, his family, and his friends. IVAW also sends their thanks to the brave folks who risked bodily harm to provide care to Scott immediately following the incident.

Update 3:23 p.m. The New York Times blog The Lede has picked up on the story.

 

And from the Bay Citizen:

A handful of [Olsen's] friends, many of whom are also veterans of the Iraq war, stood vigil outside the emergency room door.

They said they had been informed by nurses that he was still unconscious. Aaron Hinde, an Iraq war veteran who, like Olsen is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said Olsen was brought to the hospital by “two good Samaritans” around 8pm Tuesday evening and lost consciousness on the way to the hospital.

So far, no one has said they are a witness to the actual moment of Olsen getting injured or knows how he was injured.

Sgt. Chris Bulton of the Oakland Police told Shuka Kalantari said that both a criminal investigation and an internal affairs investigation is under way. “We responded immediately as soon as we were aware of the incident and are investigating,” he said.

Earlier post
More than 1,000 protesters were out in force in Oakland last night, trying to reclaim the streets after police had conducted an early-morning raid of the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza, arresting dozens while using tear gas and firing bean bags from a gun.

Clashes with police last night ranged all over downtown, and police again fired tear gas and bean bags.

Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said 102 people were arrested in total yesterday, including during the pre-dawn raid. Many are being held on $10,000 bail at Santa Rita Jail, the Oakland Tribune reports.

KQED’s Peter Jon Shuler was in downtown Oakland this morning and said a handful of demonstrators were milling about, with about a dozen police officers on hand. Barricades form a perimeter around City Hall, extending a couple of blocks north. Police are letting people through on a case-by-case basis. Some local businesses were complaining about a lack of customers.

Frank Ogawa Plaza, the former site of the Occupy Oakland encampment, was being washed with high-pressure hoses, which may be dispersing residual tear gas into the air, as Shuler reported his eyes tearing up when he was nearby.

Police barricade at 14th and Broadway adorned with protester signs. (Photo: Peter Jon Shuler, KQED)

Update 10:17 a.m. KGO just tweeted this picture of a spotless-looking Frank Ogawa Plaza.

For more on the story:

 

Many reports and comments are coming through Twitter:

 

 

 

Here’s AP’s report:

The scene was calm but tense early Wednesday as a crowd of hundreds of protesters dwindled to just a few dozen at the site of several clashes between authorities and supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement a night earlier.

Police in riot gear stood watch only a few yards away from a group of stalwart demonstrators in the aftermath of skirmishes in front of City Hall that resulted in five volleys of tear gas from police, in blasts that seemed to intensify with each round, over a roughly three-hour stretch of evening scuffles.

The site was among numerous camps that have sprung up around the country as protesters rally against what they see as corporate greed and a wide range of other economic issues. The protests have attracted a wide range of people, including college students looking for work and the homeless.

The Oakland conflict began much earlier in the day when police dismantled an encampment of Occupy Wall Street protesters that had dominated a plaza across the street from the government building for more than two weeks.

 

Police fired tear gas and beanbag rounds, clearing out the makeshift city in less than an hour.

Hours after nightfall Tuesday evening, protesters had gathered at a downtown library and began marching toward City Hall in an attempt to re-establish a presence in the area of the disbanded camp.

Protesters promised to reconvene Wednesday morning. Police, meanwhile, remained in riot gear standing watch.

In Oakland, tensions between the city and protesters have been escalating since last week as officials complained about what they described as deteriorating safety, sanitation and health issues at the site of the dismantled camp. Full story

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Category: Oakland, Poverty Issues

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  • Kate Schatz

    What’s more of a threat to public safety—bedbugs, lice, and a few crazy people in downtown Oakland, or 100s of cops in riot gear, teargassing peaceful citizens? The stakes have been raised now, and the threat to public property, businesses, and people is MUCH higher now.

    • Goose

      The fact of the matter is that Oakland doesn’t have much history of “a few… peaceful citizens” engaging in some harmless civil disobedience. What it does have is a recent history of violent anarchists disassociated from the political statement du jour, coming from out of town to wreak havoc, break shop windows and generally trying to re-create the 1968 Democratic Convention riots in Chicago. And in this case, the political statement du jour is a garbled message at best.

      So I would say it is entirely expected that city officials should adopt a defensive posture.

  • Mike

    Please also include this video of the police throwing flashbangs within feet of protesters who attempted to help the wounded man. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH7xc6u18Mw&feature=youtu.be

  • Francis Potter

    You said that “The East Bay Express tweets that Mayor Jean Quan is speaking at the general assembly.” That’s wrong. Mayor Quan spoke at a press conference far from the square, and the Express was reporting on the press conference.

    • Jon Brooks

      Thanks for the correction.

  • deathorglory

    Abraham Lincoln said this: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

    http://napoleonlive.info/