The cops are pissed (and so is the National Lawyers Guild)

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Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan stands in front of a police line on July 8.
Alex Emslie

Below, a few noteworthy tidbits relating to the July 8 protests in Oakland and today's announcement that two Oakland City Council Members are being investigated by the Oakland police for standing in front of a police line.

July 8:
A Los Angeles jury reaches a verdict in the trial of Johannes Mehserle, convicting him of involuntary manslughter for fatally shooting Oscar Grant in the back on Jan. 1, 2009. Protests are held in downtown Oakland, and rioting follows. The Guardian interviews Oakland City Council Member Rebecca Kaplan, who is standing before the police line, as Council member Jean Quan stands nearby. You can watch the video here.

July 11:
Some one uploads a photograph to the Oakland Police Officer’s Association Facebook page from the July 8 protests showing Kaplan in front of the police line.

Members of the POA Facebook group are infuriated.

“Unbelievable! Why was this not posted on the news? Why wasn't she arrested for obstructing as well placing her hands on the officers?? Guess this shows how the city really feels about OPD!!” some one writes.

“And the charges against her, him.... there were a few Council Members, i believe 2, who were interfering with Officers trying to do their job.... and the outcome if any?????” another commenter responds.

“It's all a matter of votes,” another Facebook group member chimes in. “If the voters want cop-hating, they give them cop-hating. Next the voters want lawlessness. Which they all will support until they get carjacked.”

Some one else writes: “ARREST KAPLAN AND QUAN!!!!"

July 13:
Negotiations to save 80 Oakland police officers’ jobs fail, and layoffs go into effect.

July 14:
The San Francisco Chronicle publishes an article that begins: “Oakland police are investigating City Councilwomen Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan for their decision to join a human line that blocked police from moving up Broadway during the demonstration Thursday night.”

Also on July 14:

Meanwhile, at noon, the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild held a press conference in downtown Oakland to decry excessive use of force by Oakland police.

“Despite claims by Oakland Police (OPD) and city officials that law enforcement used restraint during last Thursday’s protests following the Johannes Mehserle verdict, details emerging paint a very different picture," a press release by the NLG reads. "Police used excessive force against a largely peaceful protest, violently attacking a number of people.  Police arrested many demonstrators who had done nothing wrong, and then held them in jail through the night and in some cases through the weekend and beyond.”

Carlos Villarreal, NLGSF Executive Director, links it back to the verdict. “Last Thursday a court in Los Angeles sent a disgraceful message about police violence, and that message was reinforced by the conduct of Oakland Police and other law enforcement Thursday evening,” Villarreal said. “OPD and outside agencies brought in as reinforcement used overwhelming force on a largely nonviolent assembly, sweeping up lawyers, legal observers, journalists and community members, and seriously injuring a number of individuals.”

Comments

One clarification: The photo that was uploaded to Facebook was originally published by the Chronicle, then re-posted to the POA page without crediting the Chronicle. So questions like, "Why wasn't this posted on the news?" should be disregarded. It was taken by a newspaper photographer.

Posted by rebecca on Jul. 14, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

And actually, the most interesting photo shows rebecca kaplan with her hand square on a policeman's chest. WTF?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

A political stunt by the council members that blew back in their faces. Amateurs.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 19, 2010 @ 12:58 pm