Late last night, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan issued a statement about the police crackdown against Occupied Oakland protesters. In it, she expressed concern for those injured and a commitment to minimize police presence in Frank Ogawa plaza, at least for now. Her statement follows national and international outcry over police treatment of unarmed protestors.
Jean Quan wrote that she will “personally monitor” investigations of police misconduct. Yesterday, the ACLU of Northern California and the National Lawyers’ Guild demanded a full investigation. The groups also asked the Oakland Police Department to immediately produce records about the use of force in responding to the early morning raid of the Occupy Oakland encampment and the evening demonstration, and the detention of those who were arrested.
Her statement also expressed “deepest concern for all of those who were injured last night, and we are committed to ensuring this does not happen again.” Iraq Vet Scott Olsen was critically injured by a police projectile and remains at Highland Hospital. Hundreds of others were sickened by tear gas or injured by police violence or projectiles.
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Occupy Oakland protestors tore down the fences surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza Wednesday night and held a general assembly of 2,000. There were no police in sight. The protestors voted for a general strike on November 2nd, the first in over 65 years of Oakland history.
Based on the mayor’s statement, she and Police Chief Harold Jordan are ready to meet with Occupy Oakland organizers as soon as today.
Jean Quan’s complete statement reads as follows:
We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.
I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.
99% of our officers stayed professional during difficult and dangerous circumstances as did some of the demonstrators who dissuaded other protestors from vandalizing downtown and for helping to keep the demonstrations peaceful. For the most part, demonstrations over the past two weeks have been peaceful. We hope they continue to be so.
I want to express our deepest concern for all of those who were injured last night, and we are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Investigations of certain incidents are underway and I will personally monitor them.
We understand and recognize the impact this event has had on the community and acknowledge what has happened. We cannot change the past, but we are committed to doing better.
Most of us are part of the 99%, and understand the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We are committed to honoring their free speech right.
Finally, we understand the demonstrators want to meet with me and Chief Jordan. We welcome open dialogue with representatives of Occupy Wall Street members, and we are willing to meet with them as soon as possible.
The City posts regular updates on the city website that you can view at www.oaklandnet.com.