The militarization of the police: Oakland, California. January 28, 2012
Oakland police are currently attempting to shut down Occupy Oakland in the streets of Uptown. Today's Occupy Oakland events, focused on a civil disobedience action to reoccupy an empty building for community use, have drawn serious police violence from the OPD. Below is an image of a military-grade tear gas cannister; it was one of many fired from tear gas shotguns at the unarmed demonstrators today.
Click here to watch coverage of Occupy Oakland live as demonstrators face tens of riot police in what appears to be a mass arrest. (h/t for image: @therealkeori)
Today's OPD actions are likely going to hurt Mayor Jean Quan as she faces a recall. Many reports from the scene on Twitter have alleged that today's OPD performance has been the most repressive and aggressive since Occupy Oakland began. That's saying a lot, given that the OPD has put numerous unarmed and non violent protesters in the hospital, including Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran who was shot in the head with a tear gas cannister at close range and is suffering neurologically. One participant called the OPD "coldly intentional and ruthless."
A number of Twitter users at the scene have also reported that OPD seems to be picking specific people out of the crowd, targeting the arrests. Aaron Bady reports that the police have a book full of photos for such purposes.
It seems the police were planning for mass arrests. They set up a mobile processing unit to deal with their many captives….in the middle of the street.
Above: screen shot from @OakFoSho's livestream, available here, shows the mobile processing unit in front of the Uptown YMCA. (It's in the center of the image, behind the white van.)