National Lawyers Guild Calls Out Oakland Police Department for Brutal Treatment of Protesters

NLGSF - IndyBay

Oakland, CA - Following the announcement of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, thousands of people poured into the streets all over the Bay Area and specifically Oakland in protest. In response, the Oakland Police Department brutally attacked, threatened and harmed both protesters and National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers in an attempt to quell dissent.

On Monday, November 21st at 10:00 am on the steps of Oakland City Hall, the NLGSF Bay Area Chapter held a press conference to call out the Oakland Police Department (OPD) for their violent treatment of the people.

“As people have called into our hotline, we have heard stories of brutality the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Occupy Movement,” said Carey Lamprecht, co-chair of the NLGSF Demonstrations Committee. “Even our marked Legal Observers have faced unprecedented intimidation and violence at the hands of OPD. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

Protesters and Legal Observers have reported:

  • Oakland Police ran motorcycles up on sidewalks to scare marchers;
  • An Oakland Police Officer pointed a Specialty Impact Munition launcher at a marked NLG Legal Observer and a cop watcher who were peacefully documenting an arrest. Other Legal Observers were targeted for police aggression;
  • Chemical agents and CS Blast grenades were used on demonstrators without warning;
  • A demonstrator’s skull was fractured and teeth broken due to police excessive force during arrest;

The Oakland Police Department has been under federal monitoring for almost 14 years without ever being able to successfully complete the basic accountability measures that it agreed to in the Negotiated Settlement Agreement back in 2003. That was also the year that the City and Department originally agreed to implement a Crowd Control Policy, collaboratively drafted with the NLG and ACLU, as part of a federal court settlement order. The NLG has had to sue Oakland twice more when it violated this agreed on Policy with unlawful mass arrests and police violence toward protesters during Justice for Oscar Grant and Occupy Oakland protests in 2010 and 2011. The City of Oakland also paid out more than $10 million in civil rights settlements as a result of these Crowd Control Policy violations. U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson has retained jurisdiction to enforce the OPD Crowd Control Policy, which prohibits use of “less lethal” munitions for crowd control and sets out strict guidelines for use of chemical agents and other force in the crowd context.

“It is ironic that the people in the streets were protesting in advance of what many believe will be a violent repressive regime under the leadership of Donald Trump, and they were met with violent repression here in Oakland,” continued Lamprecht. “The Guild is committed to protecting the rights of protesters and holding law enforcement accountable when they break the rules.”

Speakers for Monday morning included

Cat Brooks, Interim Executive Director for NLGSF Bay Area Jonathan Sidney, NLGSF Bay Area Legal Observer