NLG Seeks Redress for Injured Demonstrators in Wake of Scathing Report on OPD's Occupy Response

Oakland, CA – Released by the City of Oakland today after many weeks of delay and repeated demands by the National Lawyers Guild, ACLU and journalists, the Frazier Group’s independent investigation report on the Oakland Police (OPD)’s response to Occupy Oakland confirmed that OPD is a deeply troubled department, unable to police itself.

“The Frazier Report blasts OPD for systemic failures in its response to Occupy Oakland. The independent investigation found that the crowd control tactics used by OPD are outdated, dangerous, and ineffective,” said Rachel Lederman, one of the attorneys on the National Lawyers Guild’s litigation against Oakland for police misconduct.

The National Lawyers Guild and ACLU are suing the City and OPD for their October 25 and November 2, 2011, shooting and abuse of Occupy protesters and journalists. Documents obtained in the litigation confirm that officers shot so-called “less lethal” projectiles directly into crowds of demonstrators, in violation of OPD’s own Crowd Control Policy, and that some officers’ vision was so obscured by the clouds of teargas the police had unleashed that they were unable to account for who they had shot or why.

The Frazier Group was hired by the City of Oakland to investigate following world wide outrage at the police response to the demonstrations. The report found that OPD has failed to comply with basic reporting and investigation requirements, that key records were not kept, and that OPD created a conflict of interest when it assigned an Internal Affairs supervisor to lead the police response in the field. “OPD was deluged with 1100 complaints related to its unlawful violence against Occupy demonstrators, but has been unable to investigate and bring its police force under control due to numerous inadequacies in its internal reporting, record keeping, and investigation procedures,” said Lederman. The Report calls for OPD to reopen a criminal investigation into its use of force on October 25.

“The Frazier Report does not go far enough in addressing the specific acts of violence and civil rights violations by the police, but that will be rectified in the federal court litigation, ” explained NLGSF President Michael Flynn. On November 14, 2011, the National Lawyers Guild, along with the ACLU of Northern California, filed a lawsuit against Oakland and Chief Howard Jordan, Campbell, et. al. v. City of Oakland, et. al., No. C11-5498 RS. The lead plaintiff is Timothy Scott Campbell, an independent journalist who was shot by an OPD officer with a 12 gauge shotgun round of mesh-wrapped lead pellets while filming a line of police following the November 2, 2011, Occupy Oakland General Strike. The NLG has filed claims on behalf of a number of other people who were brutalized during the Occupy Oakland demonstrations.