500 Riot Cops Attack #OccupyOakland With Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets

  occupy OPD

There's a riot goin' on.What will it be like when America’s tensed-up trigger-finger cops are finally let loose upon the populist demonstrations all over the country? We got a pretty good preview early this morning in Oakland, where the Darth Vader-masked shock troops were set upon the peaceful protesters in their small, peaceful encampment. According to witnesses calling in to KQED, the time between the frenzied megaphone demands that everyone clear out and the assault of “flash grenades and chemical agents” was a matter of maybe three minutes. In the course of mass uprisings, it is always an important factor whether the working class police and military grunts choose the interests of the community or the interests of those hiding within their mansions on the hill.

Here’s what you’re seeing, according to the person who put this video on YouTube:

500 police from 10 departments, tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, 90+ arrests, both Occupy Oakland camps destroyed (in Oscar Grant Plaza and in Snow Park).

Long live the Oakland Commune!! Reconvene at 4 p.m. today, Oakland Public Library at 14th and Madison.

Well. Here’s the Woody Guthrie of Oakland, Boots Riley of The Coup. He’s been showing up to encourage and entertain at #OccupyOakland since the second or third day:

[Oakland Tribune/Photo via #owsbot]

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

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157 comments

    1. BerkeleyBear

      No need to go back that far. People's Park flowers into riots every 5-10 years or so. It brings a tear to my eye seeing the rubber bullets fly – memories!

      The flashbangs are new, though. Didn't think those would do a lot of good in crowd dispersal, since they mainly blind/stun people.

  1. OC_Surf_Serf_#OLA

    500 police from 10 departments, tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, 90 arrests

    Seriously, how many tax dollars did that fucking cost?? Yet bankers roam free…

  2. Lascauxcaveman

    Those cops just wanted to scare away the 99%ers so they could scavenge some sweet bongos and weed.

  3. chicken_thief

    San Fran and Oakland, separated by the bay geographically, but by an ocean philosophically and culturally.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      Eh, not so much. SF has had a long history of tearing protestors new assholes. Mayor Jordan went so far as to roust them out of Golden Gate Park for shits and giggles. One problem O-town has (among many) is that it doesn't have a lot of park space so crowds become an issue quicker than in the City. They also have a shitload of violent crime issues to deal with so they tend to have a shorter time line for stuff like this. It isn't a night and day thing.

  4. freakishlywrong

    What's the fucking problem? Peaceable assembly? Redressing of grievances? Fucking ninja cops tear-gassing people and taking down their tents? BBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, cocksukers.

    1. Not_So_Much

      Airing of grievances is limited only to the 3-day celebration of Festivus. Any other time will get your ass shot full of rubber bullets, apparently.

    1. berkeleyfarm

      Probably both. I would wager that officers from the sheriff's department and a lot of the local smaller-town PDs are among those collecting overtime there. Given economics, a lot of them actually live over the hill in Stockton/Tracy – prime drunk Raider fan turf.

  5. SayItWithWookies

    Hey look — the park was full of dangerous thugs — and they've got uniforms so you can spot them more easily.

    1. berkeleyfarm

      An Oaklander friend of mine said, "On the brighter side, most of the OPD is downtown, so if you aren't, your chances of getting shot by the police go way down."

  6. WhatTheHeck

    there's something happinin here
    what it is aint exactly clear
    theres a man with a gun over there
    tellin me i got to beware

    1. Neilist_Returns

      One round from a .50 cal. Barrett — or better yet, from a .408 cal. CheyTac — through any part of the wiring on that Piece of Junk and it's Game Over, Nerdboy.

      And the effective range of either round is about six times the effective maximum range of that system.

      Oh, and it only works line-of-sight – which means it's s perfect target.

      Dr. Neilist Von Neilist
      Wonkette Division of GeeWhiz WonderWeapons That Can't Work But Are BIG Profit Centers For Defense Contractors

    1. Steverino247

      Because they're texting about some cute boy or drawing football plays instead of paying attention in class.

    1. Ken Layne

      I've seen Boots Riley perform with the Coup — the full funk-band version was the best, musically, in 2007 I think? — but this electric sitar setup is new to me. I like.

  7. elviouslyqueer

    One police officer said that during the plaza camp shutdown, protesters threw several objects at police, including bottles, skillets, other kitchen utensils and rocks. They also "threw plates at us like Frisbees," the officer said. Police confirmed that protesters had set off a fire extinguisher — mistaken at first for a smoke bomb — and several M-180 and M-1000 firecrackers, low-level explosives they used to try to confuse or deter oncoming police.

    Seriously? Seriously? Who trains these cops on tactical response? Gordon Ramsey?

    1. Numbat_Dundee

      Amazing symmetry. Here in Melbourne, Australia, after riot police cleared out OccupyMelbourne, the Lord Mayor who'd ordered the cops in justified his action in a newspaper article for the local Murdoch rag. Among his justifications was the line that the demonstrators were dangerous because their campsite contained knives and bricks and gas bottles.
      So, one can only conclude:
      WORKERS OF THE WORLD ARISE
      GRAB HOLD OF YOUR KITCHEN IMPLEMENTS
      WE HAVE A WORLD TO WIN
      AND A RULING CLASS TO EAT!

    1. comrad_darkness

      It looks like Greece, so, um, yeah? What's the metric for democracy these days? I've lost track.

    1. CapnFatback

      No, but Jerry Rice and Tim Brown–the wide receiver tandem of the Oakland Raiders in the early Aughts–have denounced it.

  8. SorosBot

    Oakland must not have any real crime if the city can afford to have the spend their time attacking peaceful protests.

    1. Geminisunmars

      I thought they recently had to fire a bunch of their police force because the city was broke. But they can afford to attack peaceful protestors. Good going.

    2. marinmaven

      Word.
      Thank you.
      With 95 homicides in Oakland this year so far (last year at this time there were only 66) they pick on peaceful protestors instead of keeping their citizenry safe — doing their jobs. We need to get that burly marine who shamed the NYC cops by saying if they want to fight go to Afghanistan where people are armed, not pick on peaceful protestors.
      I'm a girl who always supports firefighters and cops (first responders of all kinds), but these guys and those who sent them need public shaming and an opportunity to go to the Middle Eastern front if you know what I mean.

  9. Tundra Grifter

    This is the 510 – where a transit cop shot a young man already on the ground and helpless.

    OPD doesn't mess around. Look up the Riders debacle.

  10. Callyson

    There are people who live right by where the cops rousted everyone: did they really have to do so in the middle of the night, waking everyone up?
    Assholes.

  11. El Pinche

    Too bad for the pigs this isn't a bagger protest A seniors-eat-free-at-Golden Corral sign is always great crowd control.

  12. OneDollarJuana

    Remember, it's almost always the police/military overreaction that causes riots.

    Actually, I'm a bit surprised there hasn't been more of this already. While there are many good cops, there are many who are authoritarian right-wing thugs. Just like in the military. I have met many cops and soldiers who have clearly gone into law enforcement or the military as much for the legal right to exert forcible authority as for the opportunity to help people. And the MSM portraying the OWS protesters as dirty hippies doesn't help.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      It gets worse on riot duty/crowd control. The East Bay doesn't really have the cops per capita of say, NYC, so Oakland calls in all the surrounding cities and the Alameda County Sherriff's. Who, if they want (and they usually do) call in the Auxillary, which are by and large a bunch of clods who couldn't make a real police force, aren't trusted with live ammunition but can make mean use of a baton.

      Couple that, their fear and anxiety (which they have to overcompensate for) with the shitty attitude of most Bay Area residents to law enforcement (really, really shitty) and you have a recipe for, well, this. I've seen it first hand. I'm sure there were people mouthing off to the cops right up to the moment they got charged – not that they deserved it, but not exactly a good way to handle the situation on either side.

  13. slowhansolo

    I'm sure that was unsatisfying for most of those peace officers, nothing more than a pale imitation of the fun in Fallujah. I mean, how can they stay sharp when this is the best the opposition can offer?

  14. Eve8Apples

    Those fuckin' cops should watch the old black and white news footage of the southern civil rights protests. No rational person ever watches that footage and says, "Gee, I'm sure proud of how the white pigs dealt with those peaceful protestors."

    1. SayItWithWookies

      If they watched them, the only thing they'd come away with is "Hey — dogs and firehoses!"

  15. magic_titty

    I'm certain there's a song by Oakland native Too Short that encapsulates this barbaric display of police violence. And Invasion of Flat Booty Bitches might just be it.

  16. Callyson

    From the Oakland Tribune:
    As hundreds of officers surrounded the camp, several protesters sneaked behind City Hall and pulled out some police barricades that had apparently been left out, using them to protect the camp, said Max Allstadt, a West Oakland resident who had gone down to the camp to see what would happen Tuesday morning.
    "They also snagged the City Hall Christmas wreath and used that as a barrier," Allstadt said. The 14-foot wreath had also been apparently left out, Allstadt said.
    Christmas wreaths and barricades? Come on, Occupy Oakland, where were the guillotines?

    1. chicken_thief

      So in Oakland they did in minutes from random material what TX and AZ haven't been able to do in 200 yrs with millions spent? Not that I am in favor of the danged fence, but Occupy Oakland folks make it look easy.

      1. tessiee

        Why not?
        Labor Day is over, it's high time for the stores to put out all the red and green crap-olla and the bible nuts to whine if somebody says "Season's Greetings".

    2. BerkeleyBear

      See, the most telling part of that to me is that the source is a sight-seeing local. Riots really are a spectator sport in the Berkeley Bay Area. Unfortunately, the spectators tend to side with the rioters, which in turn makes the cops even jumpier. One thrown bottle from behind and suddenly the spectators are fair game for the cops.

  17. bureaucrap

    It's probably cold comfort to the protestors right now, but OPD probably just increased the number of protesters regrouping this afternoon ten-fold. God knows I would be there if it weren't on the other side of the country. Probably 1/4 of UC Berkeley and 1/4 of adult San Francisco will join up after this.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      Your numbers might be a little high. Cal undergrads are a lot less political than you think. Or at least they were when I was there – we liked watching riots, but generally left the actual rioting to the homeless people and semi-pro agitators who seem to congregate in Berkeley. A lot of students talk a good game, but midterms are coming up, don't you know? And they have to find a way over there, and that means going to downtown Oakland, which is such a scary place after dark. And who is going to take notes in Bio if they go to the riots. And if they go now, will they get back in time for this week's UCLA SoCal roadtrip. And if they get caught, their parents will be sooooo pissed.

      There will be some uptick, but I'd expect more day tripping looky loos than anything else. Or a "solidarity protest" on the Plaza that only attracts a couple hundred students unless free pizza is offered.

  18. Goonemeritus

    The part of human nature that most saddens me is that logical argument in peaceful assembly rarely win the day. What wins the day are peaceful protestors being ruffed up by agents of the Government. If government is tolerant and even supportive in their public response movements peter out.

    1. Swampgas_Man

      But in this case, the "government" is being egged on, if not outright commanded, by the 1%, who rightly see this sort of thing as directly against them. That's like asking Louis XVI to shake hands w/ Robespierre.

  19. prommie

    General Strike? Did I hear someone say general strike? Why the fuck have I not heard anyone say general strike? Oh, thats right, because the US is divided by so many bitter hatreds that only 3% would strike, and by doing so, would identify themselves to those who would harm them. Oh well.

    1. Ken Layne

      It takes what, 2% of the 10% of the Early Adopters in any social scene to direct the acceptable action. So, no general strike today and probably not until after Christmas when another whole bunch of people lose their jobs. And you know what is nice in the cold ass winter when you're out on the street? Fires.

  20. El Pinche

    Next MSM pundidiot excuses facism in action as "the cops are tired and frustrated" can suck a dog dick.

  21. YouBetcha

    I'd drive up there and help out, but…who am I kidding? Sorry, Oakland, you're on your own. Next time, throw 'em off by flashing some boob*. Or something.

    *Disclaimer: The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice, and may result in your arrest for indecent exposure.

  22. MissTaken

    Happy Bay Area Protest Day! Downtown SF is filled with the Prez in town for a fundraiser tonight, too.

  23. Wilcoxyz

    Should have seen this coming. Remember how crazy the cops and ATF officers got when people protesting healthcare reform brought automatic weapons to rallies.

    1. Dok-cupy Everything

      That's a totally unfair bit of liberal propaganda, and just the sort of misleading lie I'd expect to see in a filthy left-wing source like The Wonket!

      They were semi-automatic weapons.

  24. WeHaveIssues

    Has that certain Blade Runner look… unless the cops are getting 1% paychecks, they're pointing their guns in the wrong direction. Shoot the innocents? On a more practical level, they're breaking-up their overtime pay cash cow. #OWS – Jobs for America!

  25. GorzoTheMighty

    Give them a wiff of the grapeshot Smithers. The peasants are revolting. Call in the Ghurkas and their long knives.

  26. Cicada

    The craziest police response I've ever personally witnessed was in Oakland too. They tried to cordon off an anti-war demonstration at the port, and when people didn't instantly disperse (they seriously gave hundreds of people one minute to leave) they started firing rubber bullets and other projectiles. I didn't get hit, but a friend we came with was hit in the back and the back of his head by rubber bullets and had huge welts that bled. Those things break bones, and they aren't meant to be fired at the head.

    The thing that people who haven't been in this type of situation don't understand is that the police don't always give you clear instructions and a chance to leave before firing. They sure as hell didn't in Oakland. There was mass confusion and panic, and the police seemed more interested in running us down than keeping the situation peaceful and under control.

    It's hard to not just think "Fuck the pigs" when shit like this happens. I try to remind myself that most police are just doing their jobs and that most police want a peaceful outcome. But fuck, man, fuck.

    1. MonsterAGoGo

      If I saw any police stanidng there hesitate or refuse to go on this sort of duty perhaps I would say most police want a peaceful outcome. But I see no Serpicos in any of these mobs of thugs.

      1. Cicada

        Like I said, it's hard. I imagine that these situations are worse because the cops are being sent in specifically to be adversarial. The second video in the ones posted has a police officer who calmly talks to one of the protesters. She isn't beating him down for stating his objections, and is clearly defining what he needs to do. That's how the police are supposed to behave, even if I don't agree with the objective.

    2. BerkeleyBear

      Most cops on crowd control, from what I've seen, want to go home. The rioters are the impediment to doing that. It isn't about wanting a "peaceful outcome" but just an outcome. Doesn't take much from that mindset for the rioters to become the enemy. And in most cases, someone says or does something that gives them all the excuse they need to wade into the crowd.

      1. Cicada

        I wish a peaceful outcome was the objective, but I imagine you're right. And yes, there will usually be someone who will give them an "excuse" to wade into the crowd. Then again, this is why many people dislike and mistrust the police. If you have a gun, and tear gas, and concussion grenades and the power to arrest people, you shouldn't use excuses to make a situation worse.

  27. Steverino247

    So, let's call out the CA National Guard to protect the Occupiers from the OPD and their nine PD allies, shall we? Go Jerry, go!

    1. Cicada

      Sure it would have. All of the cops would have been wearing suede and denim, of course. California, Uber Alles!

  28. Antispandex

    I still say we have come a long way. There was a time when the bullets wouldn't have been rubber.

  29. ChrisM2011

    All the more clearer why we're bringing the troops back from Iraq: To fight hippies on the homefront.

  30. donner_froh

    It seems that the streets still don't belong to the people. Hardly surprising.

    Old peoples like me thought we had a chance for fundamental change in the late 1960s and early 1970s but there is much more at stake now, like the collapse of capitalism into fascism.

    We need to do better this time.

    1. fishskicanoe

      Yes we do. What we need is some philosophy to give capitalism a run for its money. For all its faults and horrors Leninism made the capitalist countries at least attempt to keep the standard of living of the lower classes above the level of mere subsistence… above the level the Leninist governments provided. Now, with capitalism free to evolve to its natural state, people, the country and the planet itself are reduced to mere things to be bought and sold by the powerful. I cry for my country. And I'm way to old to be crying about anything.

  31. owhatever

    Who hit the damned replay button on my life? I've seen this show a number of times. Establishment unable to see a problem. Send cops to bash heads. Protesters win.

  32. fitley

    It's nice that the cops got to use rubber bullets. Tear gas is so un-rewarding. At least in their peanut brains they can fantasize that they're actually killing people. I mean hows a pig supposed to bust a nut these days?

  33. rocktonsam

    sentimental affection for cops ended 10 years ago.
    along with administration and politicians.

    keep up the best behavior kiddos.
    this our country TOO! also.

  34. ttommyunger

    The morons that conceived of this operation are playing right into OWS's hand. I know, it sounds crazy, but they are. No snark.

    1. berkeleyfarm

      It could unite Oakland. The catch for the po-po is, of course, not in the way they anticipated.

  35. Negropolis

    Didn't Gandhi have something to say about situations like this?

    Honestly, I've seen one person going through here trying to inject nuance in every response, but what it really comes down to is that this is not how you handle a peaceful protest.

  36. berkeleyfarm

    Fuck you very much, OPD. You can't send officers on patrol "due to budget cuts". Crime, violent and non, is way up "due to lack of police". But you can find the bodies,and the money to pay the bodies, to beat up on a few neo- and not-so-neo-hippies sleeping in the plaza. It takes a real big man to beat up on college kids. I know you wanted to do it, because if you'd really wanted them to clear out peacefully, you would have given them more than 3 minutes' warning. Shame on you all for cowards.

  37. berkeleyfarm

    In non-outrage trivia, I did a double-take when I saw my former office building on the Wonkette! Third floor of the modern one on the right.

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