Friday, October 28, 2011

Oakland Police Deny Using Flash Bang Grenades ... that they CLEARLY used

According to the Guardian, the Oakland Police Department has acknowledged using tear gas on protesters, but have denied using flash bang grenades:
There appears to be some contradiction as to whether or not flash bang grenades were used by police last night. Mother Jones had two reporters, Gavin Aronsen and James West on the scene, and claim flash bangs were used:
"The Occupy Oakland protests turned violent Tuesday evening when police officers cracked down with rubber bullets* [*OPD denies, but says it cannot speak for 15 other law enforcement agencies on scene], tear gas, and flash-bang grenades on protesters marching through downtown Oakland."
However Oakland police have specifically denied using flash bangs. California's KGO Newstalk radio station has a transcription from a police press conference held this morning. The police spokesman was asked: "Did the Police deploy rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades?"
The answer:
No, the loud noises that were heard originated from M-80 explosivesthrown at Police by protesters. In addition, Police firedapproximately four bean bagroundsat protesters to stop them from throwing dangerous objects at the officers.
However, video footage of Scott Olsen, the critically injured Iraq war veteran, clearly shows what appears to be a flash grenade going off in the small crowd that had gathered to aid him:

Not sure what a flash bang grenade looks like? I've never seen one in person, but judging from eyewitness reports and the footage of these explosions- there can be no doubt that at least one of the 15 different law enforcement agencies present were lobbing shit that goes "boom!" at close range at (injured) protesters.

Here is what a police flash round looks like when it isn't going off next to a guy lying on the pavement with a skull fracture:

Serious injuries amongst protesters will continue to happen as long as police forces are corralling people into small areas and shooting projectiles at them. And it makes no sense. These people may be occupying a piece of land (typically public parks) and perhaps letting rubbish build up from time to time. But there is not a violence issue at these protests, save for the ones the police (or the super-bureaucrats with weapons), create. The streets are not on fire! The stores aren't being looted by every Tom, Dick and Jane on the street. This is not chaos.

The state's attempts to justify harsh and dangerous police tactics fail on all levels. Really, all these people are doing is trespassing and defying municipal curfew laws. Well, how else are 'we the people' supposed to exercise our 1st Amendment rights to free assembly and protest?

As the Albany, NY police force points out:
"We were ready to make arrests if needed, but these people complied with our orders," a State Police official said. However, he added that State Police supported the defiant posture of Albany police leaders to hold off making arrests for the low-level offense of trespassing, in part because of concern it could incite a riot or draw thousands of protesters in a backlash that could endanger police and the public.
"We don't have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble," the official said. "The bottom line is the police know policing, not the governor and not the mayor."A city police source said his department also was reluctant to damage what he considers to be good community relations that have taken years to rebuild. In addition, the crowd included elderly people and many others who brought their children with them. "There was a lot of discussion about how it would look if we started pulling people away from their kids and arresting them ... and then what do we do with the children?" one officer said.
Here's the breakdown: Super-bureaucrats WITH weapons will kettle, harass, detain and injure protesters who are committing either no crime, or technically very low level crimes in order to express their first amendment rights.

a) Where are the resources coming from for this? Aren't there more pertinent things to put all that police effort into? like preventing/solving real crimes? Or perhaps arresting bankers?

b) These protesters are incredibly peaceful. In every American city that OWS has spread to, this has been the case.

c) Albany police have the balls to defy Governor Andrew Cuomo's orders to arrest peaceful demonstrators. Who's next?

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