Criminalizing OWS Protesters - by Stephen Lendman
War declared on OWS protesters.
On November 14, the Northern California ACLU and National Lawyers Guild (NLG) sued the Oakland Police Department (OPD) in federal court for "egregious constitutional violations" against Occupy Oakland protesters.
A temporary restraining order was sought to stop them. On November 14, hundreds of riot gear clad police forcefully evicted encamped Oscar Grant Plaza protesters at 5:00AM. At a same day press conference, Mayor Jean Quan said:
"We have to bring the camp to an end."
The ACLU-NC and NLG sued OPD on behalf of videographer Timothy Scott Campbell. Other plaintiffs include Kerie Campbell, Marc McKinnie, Michael Siegel, and NLG Legal Observer Marcus Kryshka.
On November 2, all faced excessive force. Campbell said:
"I was filming police activity at Occupy Oakland because police should be accountable. Now I'm worried about my safety from police violence and about retaliation because I've been outspoken."
According to NLG attorney Rachel Lederman:
"OPD's unconstitutional actions against protesters were wholesale and flagrant violations of Oakland's Crowd Control Policy."
It strictly limits force and prohibits indiscriminate use of shot-filled beanbags and other projectiles against peaceful protesters and crowds.
In fact, authorities nationally want OWS demonstrations ended. On November 15, Occupy Wall Street.org countered, saying:
"You cannot evict an idea whose time has come. We are the 99%. We are everywhere. We are a global movement that is reclaiming our humanity and our future."
America's First Amendment affirms everyone's free expression and assembly rights. Fourth Amendment freedom prohibits unnecessary excessive force.
No matter. On November 14, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg used goon squad cops to evict protesters. Hundreds earlier were beaten, pepper-sprayed, maced, tear gassed and arrested.
Days earlier, police attacked nearby Berkeley, CA Occupy Cal protesters. Students and youths were beaten, one seriously. About 40 were arrested. Similar crackdowns are happening nationally. Thousands have been arrested.