#OccupyOakland #FTP March Turns Violent When Uninvited Riot Police Attack Woman on Bike
On Saturday night, January 7, an estimated 150-200 Occupy Oakland activists responded to the Occupy Oakland Tactical Action Committee’s invitation to meet at Oscar Grant Plaza to express their distaste for the Oakland Police Department’s heavy handed policing. What started out as a heated protest deteriorated into near chaos when Mayor Jean Quan’s personal army, which appeared to be in equal numbers to protesters, decided to block the march and prevent protesters from expressing their anger in a peaceful way. The entirety of the march can be seen here.
The night began like many other actions, Occupy Oakland community members dancing, singing & enjoying each others company. The tree occupiers “monkey man” & “Momo” created the party vibe as Momo jumped up on a platform to perform a war dance for the police watching across the street, as fellow occupiers used their hands and feet to create a beat for Dopey to freestyle.
At 9pm protesters quickly filled the streets and marched to the OPD headquarters where they were met with multiple lines of riot police with their batons, rubber bullet guns, & other weapons standing guard outside the building while protesters began to express their anger via salty language. The police flashed their lights and pointed out the people with the cameras to intimidate protesters from continuing their right to free speech and assembly.
After marching to the intersection of 7th & Broadway, unknown individuals set a small fire before the majority of protesters arrived. Some protesters responded to the overwhelming police presence by launching two glass soda bottles towards the feet of a group of three or four officers. The officers hardly acknowledged the bottles. In fact, one seemed to dance in rhythm with the music in the background. When a single protester attempted to stomp out the fire, officers surrounded the fire and directed the protester back. After one of the officers stomped out the fire, they suddenly charged the people in front who were holding a banner and taking pictures. I was pushed to the ground and my legs, arms, and camera equipment were trampled.
The police formed a line in the street to squash the protest. They knew that this protest was to express anger towards their harsh policing and unconstitutional actions, yet their behavior ironically substantiated the very grievances of the protest. Had the police not formed a line to prevent people from marching, the following most likely would not have happened.
What you see in the video below is me turning to run from the police as one of them swings his night stick at my back launching me face first into the street. As I tried to gather my cameras I was stepped on by at least two more officers. As quickly as I could, fearing for my freedom, I ran to the sidewalk in an attempt to remove myself from the presence of these inhumane robotic forces. I was then corralled into a side street where I thought I was safe. Within seconds the line of cops charged us again, this time with the intent on causing pain and harassment.
A young woman named Leila who was riding her bike and acting as a legal observer was pulled into a gang of dangerous OPD officers before being punched in the neck, shoved to the ground, & billy clubbed by a particularly agitated officer who displayed hostility several times on my live stream. Leila did absolutely nothing wrong and it is more than clear in the video that an officer grabs her bike by the front tire to pull her towards the police so they could attempt to hurt and scare her. Fortunately nearby protesters went to her aid and were able to rescue her from the community peace officers.
After this encounter, the 50 or so of us who were forced into the side street were illegally detained for up to 15 minutes before being released.
As we walked down the street back towards Oscar Grant Plaza, a man was being helped into an ambulance after being shot in the leg by a bean bag, causing major bruising and other internal damage. As a small group gathered around, the line of riot police came charging at us yet again. Before I could get my camera back on, I took off running as fast as I could to make sure I got home that night to share this important evidence of police brutality.
Occupy Oakland activists are planning to hold weekly ‘Fuck The Police’ marches.
The mainstream media will not accurately report on Occupy actions. Sean Maher of the Oakland Tribune contacted me after he watched the video of Leila being attacked by the police, but his report hardly even mentions the incident. It is clear that the Oakland Tribune is not here to report from the perspective of the people, but to tell the story from the eyes of the police and local government.
Since the main stream media wont do their job, occupiers will do it for them. #oo activists have created their own version of the tribune: Occupied Oakland Tribune.
Contact the City Administrator’s Office
1 Oscar Grant Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
phone: (510) 238-3301
fax: (510) 238-2223
TTY: (510) 238-3724