Occupy Oakland made a a peaceful return to Frank Ogawa Plaza last night following a march by several hundred from the Public Library on 14th and Madison to City Hall. Despite holding a packed General Assembly in the amphitheater, dozens of Oakland Police positioned throughout the plaza and the surrounding streets deterred any attempts to set up tents or permanently retake the plaza.
Dealing with Occupy Oakland over the past month and a half has been a costly affair for OPD. Aside from the $2.4 million in police overtime and mutual aid payments, the hundreds of excessive force complaints following the use of tear gas and less-lethal projectiles against demonstrators on October 25th and a lawsuit alleging violations of crowd control policy, the protests are draining manpower from street patrols. And Oakland’s violent year shows no sign of letting up.
There have been 95 killings in Oakland to date this year, according to police statistics. Add to that the seven fatal officer-involved shootings that the Oakland Tribune (and now the Oakland Police Officers’ Association) includes in their homicide count, and you have 102 violent deaths for 2011 so far.
Occupy Oakland’s deployments aren’t helping the city’s strapped police force. Roughly 60 officers, including at least nine from the motorcycle unit, patrolled downtown Oakland last night as a deterrent to property destruction. Captain Ersie Joyner III said that the manpower assigned to downtown Oakland pulled significant resources away from East Oakland, where at least three patrol beats were open last night.
And the shootings that have plagued Oakland’s flatlands have not let up. As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, there were seven shootings in East Oakland from Sunday through Tuesday afternoon, with six people requiring hospitalization for gunshot wounds. Yesterday, 23-year-old Anthony Love succumbed to gunshot wounds he suffered on Sunday, when he was dropped off at Highland Hospital. Here is the tally from OPD:
November 12, 2011
2:00AM- Shooting occurred in the1200 block of 96th Ave. Victim transported to a local hospital.
2:30AM- Attempt ADW, Shooting in the 600 block of Hegenberger Rd. No injuries
7:45PMhrs- Shooting occurred in the 1300 block of 75th Ave. One victim suffered gun shot wound. Victim was transported to a local hospital. Anthony Love, 23, died from his wounds on Tuesday, November 15
FROM 0400: Monday, 14 November 2011 to 15Nov11, at 0355hrs
1:08PM- Shooting occurred in the 9300blk of B St. One victim transported to a local hospital in stable condition.
2:33PM- Shooting occurred in the 7100blk of Hamilton St. One victim transported to a local hospital in stable condition.
3:35PM- Home Invasion Robbery and shooting occurred in the 7600 block of Sunkist Dr. Two victims were transported to a local hospital in stable condition.
7:12PM- Shooting occurred in at 62nd Av / Bancroft. Victim self transported to the hospital, where he is being treated for a gunshot wound. Victim is in stable condition.
The steady drumbeat of gun violence isn’t the department’s only problem right now. The recent lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Northern California and the National Lawyers’ Guild may also have serious implications for federal oversight of the Oakland Police Department. U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson has threatened to put OPD under federal control if it fails to complete reforms begun almost nine years ago by January 2012.
On Monday, two motions were filed with Judge Henderson by Attorneys Jim Chanin and John Burris. The first motion asks the court to join the recent crowd control policy lawsuit to Henderson’s ongoing oversight, referring to the judge’s reform of OPD’s crowd control policy after violent confrontations with demonstrators during an April 2003 anti-war protest at the Port of Oakland.
The second motion asks for financial sanctions against Oakland Police Officer John Hargreaves and Lieutenant Clifford Wong for Hargreaves’ attempt to cover his name tag with tape on the night of November 2-3. Court documents allege that not only did Hargreaves violate policy by covering his name tag, but Lieutenant Wong was negligent in his duty by allowing Hargreaves to keep tape over his name until a videographer pointed out the flow, and neglected to file an Internal Affairs complaint against Hargreaves.
The next status conference on OPD’s federal oversight will be in January. However, Judge Henderson is expected to rule in the next few weeks on the most recent motions. His decision on those matters will be a strong indication of the extent of court control OPD will experience in the near future.