Privacy SOS

Undercover cop, discovered by activists at Oakland protest, pulls gun on crowd

Last night an undercover cop in Oakland drew his firearm on a group of demonstrators before arresting a black man from among the crowd.

Protesters at the scene reported on Twitter that the cop pulled his gun after he was 'outed' as an undercover. One person tweeted that the undercovers were "instigators of looting," while another said they were "banging on windows." After they were unmasked, one of the cops drew his baton and then pulled a gun on the crowd. After the first officer drew his weapon, someone allegedly punched the other cop in the face, knocking him down. Read the tweets below.

The Oakland Police Department has a troubled history. In 2012, the department's leadership fell under the control of a federal court overseer, who has the "power to fire Chief Howard Jordan, overrule him on major decisions, demote his command staff and order expenditures of up to $250,000." The federal monitor was appointed to manage OPD in the wake of the 'Riders' scandal, involving at least four veteran officers charged with kidnapping, planting evidence, and viciously beating citizens. In 2011, an Oakland officer shot US armed service veteran and anti-war activist Scott Olsen in the head with a bean bag, nearly killing him.

UPDATE: Journalist Henry Lee reports that, when asked about the undercover pulling a gun on protesters last night, the Oakland Police Department referred him to the California Highway Patrol's Bay Area division.

UPDATE: New reporting sheds light on what happened that night, and how the CHP is monitoring activists: aerial surveillance, undercover police, and fake Twitter profiles.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.