Berkeley Police Department scapegoats Occupy Oakland

An elderly couple in Berkeley, CA, the Cukors, called the Berkeley Police Department to report a trespasser near to their home. When the Berkeley PD failed to send a patrol car to investigate the matter, Peter Cukor left his home and went to the local fire station for help. The station was out on a call, however. When he returned home, the trespasser beat him to death with a flower pot.

The alleged assailant, Daniel Dewitt, was arrested near to the crime scene and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Despite his illness, Dewitt failed to obtain the in-patient care he needed. Despite the Cukor’s calls to the Berkeley PD, they failed to get the assistance they needed to manage a situation that was more dangerous than they initially believed. Mr. Cukor is dead because of these failures.

The Berkeley PD’s explanation for its initial failure to respond to the Cukor’s call:

“At that time, available officers were being reconfigured in order to monitor a (Occupy Oakland) protest which was to come into Berkeley from Oakland in the next hour,” Greenwood said. “Only criminal, in-progress emergency calls were to be dispatched, due to the reduction in officers available to handle calls for service.”

So, the Berkeley Police Department blames Occupy Oakland for an event in which the movement was not involved. It is ironic that the march was peaceful, according to an Occupy Oakland activist interviewed by the Huffington Post.

Occupy Oakland has yet to release a statement on the incident and the blame placed on it by the Berkeley PD.


If it seemed to you that the recent evictions of some local occupations were directly related, reports indicate you may have been right to suspect the actions were instances of a coordinated effort. As Gregg Levine of FireDogLake states:

Embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, speaking in an interview with the BBC (excerpted on The Takeaway radio program–audio of Quan starts at the 5:30 mark), casually mentioned that she was on a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities shortly before a wave of raids broke up Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. “I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation. . . .”

Look at the Empire striking back

Some American cities have recently cleansed or have attempted to cleanse the following occupations from their public and private parks:

  • Austin
  • Chapel Hill
  • Denver
  • New York
  • Oakland
  • Portland
  • Richmond
  • St. Louis

The authorities might find suppressing a decentered and informally organized movement difficult, akin, perhaps, to herding cats.

The Oakland Police Officers’ Association speaks

They are confused, and want clarity.

The source document can be found here. I have reproduced it below:

Read more of this post

The Oakland Police Department nearly murdered another Iraqi Veteran

Making America Secure

According to a Guardian report:

A second Iraq war veteran has suffered serious injuries after clashes between police and Occupy movement protesters in Oakland.

Kayvan Sabehgi, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in intensive care with a lacerated spleen. He says he was beaten by police close to the Occupy Oakland camp, but despite suffering agonising pain, did not reach hospital until 18 hours later.

Sabehgi, 32, is the second Iraq war veteran to be hospitalised following involvement in Oakland protests. Another protester, Scott Olsen, suffered a fractured skull on 25 October.

Odd as it may seem, “Oakland police were not immediately available for comment.” Where were they? Did the Department shut its doors for the day? Was it a local holiday? A birthday of someone important? Were they then aware that they had violated the human rights of a veteran and a former Ranger? Were they hiding in shame?

The story does not end here, however. As PhoenixWoman reports:

Not a single major American media source with a nationwide focus and a large viewership or listenership could be bothered to stop their preoccupation with broken windows [in post-general strike Oakland] to care about a man’s broken body — much less to notice that he was the second Iraq war vet to be injured nearly to death by the Oakland cops, and but one of dozens of innocents who got shot with rubber bullets, beaten, gassed, and flash-banged, often apparently as they were trying to stop the black-bloc types.

Hey, US mainstream media! If you wonder why we don’t trust you, now you know. [emphasis in the original]

In fact, the Guardian broke the story!

The Oakland General Strike

The Oakland General Strike that occurred yesterday, November 2, 2011, can be counted a modest success. Between 10,000 to 20,000 people participated in the action. The Strike also closed the Port of Oakland while many city workers and teachers failed to report for work. There were arrests made later in the day as a faction of the occupy movement occupied a building and had a minor skirmish with the police.

Yesterday’s strike was Oakland’s first General Strike since December, 1946.

Civil libertarians condemn the Oakland Police Department

The larger reason for the condemnation:

The Oakland Police Department (OPD) flagrantly violated its own Crowd Management and Crowd Control Policy and foundational principles of international human rights law during its dispersal on Tuesday morning of peacefully assembled citizens at Occupy Oakland.

The precipitating cause: The OPD distinguished itself during a recent skirmish with Occupy Oakland activists when it critically wounded an Iraq War Veteran, Scott Olsen, by hitting him with a rubber bullet and then attacking those protesters while they were helping the stricken Olsen.

The complete text of the document can be found at CounterPunch.

Scott Olsen down in Oakland, CA

Cleansing public space in Oakland, California

Darwin Bond-Graham reports:

In a pre-dawn raid Tuesday involving hundreds of officers drafted from seventeen departments across northern California, the notoriously aggressive Oakland Police violently raided
and wiped out that city’s Occupy encampment. By sunrise most of the protesters had fled beyond a cordon that stretched for several blocks back of Frank Ogawa Plaza, so far back that reportedly no media or bystanders could watch the scene unfold within. A communique from Occupy Oakland described the military-style eradication mission:

“Tear gas and flash bangs were fired into the camp where children were sleeping, people were beaten and shot with rubber bullets. The assault was also levied against our property in the camp, and the cops tried their best to completely destroy everything we had there. Almost every tent has been destroyed, many slashed with boxcutters, structures smashed, basically this was not an eviction, they came in to destroy everything we had.”

Upwards of 85 persons were arrested and dragged away with their arms zip-tied behind their backs, and charged with unlawful assembly and illegal lodging. Many Oaklanders close to those arrested report that the charges also include failure to disperse and crossing a police line, and that bail is set at $10,000. A smaller satellite camp just blocks away at Snow Park was also raided and torn asunder. Numerous first hand accounts circulating on the Internet tell of rampant acts of police violence during the blitz against mostly slumbering occupiers.

Occupy Oakland responded:

Last night Oaklanders responded to their eviction by attempting to retake Frank Ogawa Plaza (which they have renamed Oscar Grant Plaza after the young man murdered by BART Police in 2009). The Oakland Police repelled the occupiers by rioting with their armaments of tear gas, sound weapons, and rubber bullets. For now the ideals of autonomy and mutual aid in the shadow of the warfare state have been expelled from Oakland’s central square, roaming about the city’s streets.