Occupy Oakland inmates at Santa Rita attacked- developing story

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Santa Rita jail in Dublin, CA

(THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED)

In the aftermath of the mass arrests of Occupy Oakland protesters-- and whoever else happend to be on the wrong street at the wrong time-- on Jan. 28 in Oakland, there have been loads of reports and rumors about brutality inflicted on those arrested. Most of those arrested were held in Santa Rita jail.

My observations:

I spent 20 hours in jail, and I saw some cruel treatment. I saw people suffering after being denied medication. I saw people with allergies to the food that was provided refused any substitute and unable to eat, sometimes for more than 24 hours. I saw people crammed into holding cells meant for groups a third their size, so that some people had to remain standing, sometimes for more than 24 hours. As many arrestees were wearing clothing coated in tear gas and pepper spray, those chemicals continued to waft through cells and affect all present.

Reports:

I have reports directly from sources of arrested occupiers being beat up in jail with police batons. At least 20 people were ziptied, meaning their hands were cuffed behind their backs-- and more often than not, if they happen to be cuffed too tightly and their hands go numb and even blue, police won't loosen them-- for more than eight hours. I know that some people who were denied access to a restroom ended up sitting in their own vomit and urine for at least four hours in some cases.

UPDATE Another report from Joshua Clover, a professor of English at UC Davis, who was released Monday night, :
"I was held for 53 hours for a misdemeanor charge which every single person here, and there, knows will never be brought, and indeed which will be met with a class action suit for wrongful arrest that the city of Oakland will be compelled to settle. I have a perforated peptic ulcer. Early on in the stay I requested non—prescription care — liquid antacid, which the jail keeps on hand — when I began to have an ulcer attack, which is to say, when I began to bleed internally. I was not given such care until an attorney was able to intervene by phone many hours later. I received one capful, which was mildly effective for about three hours. Further requests were ignored. As many will know, a bleeding ulcer attack is both painful and potentially fatal"

UPDATE When I questioned Alameda County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant JD Nelson about this, he responded that "[Clover] was obviously seen by a medical person, and they said that was enough medicine."

But accoridng to Clover, via an email, "The one time that I received medication, a deputy came to the cell door accompanied by someone who may have been a nurse, holding a capful of antacid. I asked for more but was not given it." And was Clover seen by a medical professional to determine the correct amount of medication? He says, "Definitely not."

Also according to Clover, "Food was often not provided for periods of up to 14 hours. For a long period I shared a cell with 27 other people; it was about ten by ten feet. For a period I was in a cell labeled 'Maximum Occupancy: Two.' There were ten of us, three very sick. We stood. One of the people slumped over on the toilet, that being the alternative to standing."

UPDATE

"Three people I know were denied medication for HIV infections while being held for multiple days, which is a life-threatening choice made by the county"

"two women were denied anti-depressants that they had with them when they went to jail"

UPDATE According to an anonymous source, "My 12x12 cell had 28 people. There was a toilet, a concrete bench, and enough hard floor space for three or four of us to sleep at a time. A girl in the cell across from ours told the guards she needed Lexapro or she would go into withdrawl. They ignored the request. One of my cellmates was HIV-positive. When I last saw him at 2 a.m. on Monday morning he had not yet been given his medications. As I exited the jail I saw a woman who had just been released lying on the floor. She was having a seizure and being tended to by a couple of firemen."

UPDATE From Alyssa Eisenberg, who has multiple sclerosis:
"I take my medication at least twice a day...without it, the pain is, everything kind of goes numb and tightens up. Somtimes I can't even see without it. When  had to sign the booking form about noon i couldn't even see it, my vision was so blurry...I was told they don't give meds to people that are going to be cited and released, only to people that are going to stay and get charged."

Unconfirmed reports:

Daily Kos quotes an anonymous source who reports that "prisoners from the Oakland Commune were being denied medications (some had seizures) while the guards said they didnt care if they died. Some people were brutally beaten. The put tear gas in the vents of my cell twice."
According to Occupy Oakland media spokesperson Omar Yassin, a report that someone was tear gassed in the jail's hallway is likely credible.

Then there's the peolpe who were injured during the protests Jan. 28. Also according to Yassin:

At least a dozen people had welts on their faces or bodies from being beaten by clubs or shot with rubber bullets. One woman was shot in both arms with rubber bullet; one man was shot in the face with rubber bullets while holding a video camera to document the events. Several protesters were shoved to the ground and received wounds on their faces while being arrested. Police raised their rubber-bullet rifles to the faces of protesters throughout the day, threatening attacks-- a rubber bullet to the face can cause brain damage and blindness.

 

A spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department refused to comment, although she did say that they've "been bombarded with calls about this all day." Shocker.

UPDATE According to Alameda County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant JD Nelson, no complaints of mistreatment at Santa Rita have been filed.

Nelson said that peanut butter was made avaliable to vegans those allergic to meat, in direct contrast to what I witnessed in jail.

In response to reports that some detainees were held on buses in the Santa Rita parking lot for up to eight hours, during which time they were refused bathroom access and in some cases made to sit in their own urine and vomit, Nelson said that "Generally when they come to the jail the buses are unloaded fairly quickly. Obviously some people are going to go first, some last."

He told me that detainees were denied medication because "We do we allow them to take their medication in jail. People will try to smuggle stuff in."

When asked about reported beating in jail, Nelson replied, "I haven't gotten any reports of any skirmishes between officers and those arrested. We would report it if  there was any use of force,"

According to Nelson, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office has video footage of all of the areas in the jail where arrestees were held, and, unless there was a lawsuit preventing its release, he would make the footage available to me soon. For now he said, "I don't even know if they've been developed." (Is this 1984? Not in the Orwellian sense. In the technology sense.)

More on this soon. Send me information that you have, yael@sfbg.com

Comments

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. And, that's the way it is.

Posted by Walter Cronkripe reports: on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

Exercising one's First Amendment rights is *not* a crime.

Posted by JoeC on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

Thinking that "trespassing", lighting fires on the steps of City Hall, vandalizing City Hall, and throwing objects at cops is "exercising one's First Amendment rights" is YOUR ignorance showing. Get a clue.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

What about the people who were there just to film/document or simply weren't participating in the lighting of fires, vandalism and throwing objects at cops? Stop generalizing people with your know it all comments. YOUR ignorance is showing.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

I love this guys replies.

the guy who says about the time is either retarded or didn't read the article. Has to be either of those since i'd like to think this guy isn't a commie here in the states.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

I hope the next time you are wrongfully jailed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can keep the same attitude for being shot in the face with less-than-lethal rounds.

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Posted by juvenile inmate locator on May. 16, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

You are right. The media was brutalized by the protesters.

OWS is violent chaos!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 7:28 am

It's not a question of whether these people committed crimes, brainiac - its a question of enduring treatment at the hands of official officers of the "peace" that is ILLEGAL and INHUMANE. I don't believe it is one of the principles of this country that the police can brutalize people behind closed doors and get away with it. Oh, I'm sorry, your disgusting disdain for fellow human beings is showing.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. And, that's the way it is." Restated:
1. The publicly stated point of the march was to illegally take over a building, ergo participants should have been aware that at least some people in the group had signed on for more than a first amendment exercise. When a group decides to commit civil disobedience as the means by which they express themselves politically, they should accept the risk of arrest. ANYONE who participates in an illegal act has to consider the consequences.
2. Having seen lots of video, its hard for me to imagine that most people didn't realize that by 8:00 pm they were part of a mindless mob which contained many members who were being wantonly destructive and purposefully antagonizing the police. What type of First Amendment Rights were being exercised then? Have you considered that the "First Amendment"-ers were really being used as cover by the street fighters, and at that point perhaps should have exercised their rights elsewhere?
3. The description of the conditions faced by the protestors at Santa Rita are the same as what anyone who is arrested in Oakland faces at Santa Rita (I don't believe the tear gas thing, but that would be easy to prove. Let's get those beating victims together for witness statements as soon as possible). Some of them are worse at Santa Rita, but a lot of the complaints are very standard to all jails: no, they don't hand out medication or cook to order on food allergies until you are processed, which takes time.
4. Delicate people with medication needs and food allergies, who might do a lot of yoga but are really tweaked by being handcuffed, might want to consider twice in the future before deciding to exercise their First Amendment Rights in a situation where people have publicly pledged - and boasted - that they will commit crimes.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 6:22 am

Amen!

Posted by Guest Reply to "All about Point of View" on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 10:00 am

The police do not have the right to inflict punishment, particularly once someone is in custody. Even if they disagree with the Occupiers' actions, it is not within the officers' jurisdiction to teach them a lesson or mistreat them... that is for a judge to decide.

You argument seems to be that this is what ALWAYS happens in jail, and that is a sad excuse for a failing criminal justice system. We are innocent until proven guilty, not beaten because the police aren't happy with you. The fact that the police are only upholding certain parts of their job goes to show how screwed up the system has become.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 11:25 am

The police do not have the right to inflict punishment, particularly once someone is in custody. Even if they disagree with the Occupiers' actions, it is not within the officers' jurisdiction to teach them a lesson or mistreat them... that is for a judge to decide.

You argument seems to be that this is what ALWAYS happens in jail, and that is a sad excuse for a failing criminal justice system. We are innocent until proven guilty, not beaten because the police aren't happy with you. The fact that the police are only upholding certain parts of their job goes to show how screwed up the system has become.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 11:25 am

I can agree with you almost completely. If OWS (who I support and has said all along that they are peacefully protesting) behaved this way and actually brought on this violence then by law then they should be punished as I would be if I had broken the law. But once in custody it is the police's responsibility to make sure that the ones arrested are not injured and receive medical attendtion. Even if they had not been processed, when I have an epiliptiic seizure, there is no doubt it is real. If during an arrest an officer sees that the person is injured he needs to get that person to get help. It will not stop them from being arrested later. I live in Omaha. Once a man in custody kept screaming that he was in pain. He was told to be quiet and they would get someone later. He was found dead on the floor of his cell from an ulcer. To die that way would be excrucateing. But the attitude is that he was a prisoner and they were guards.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

I can agree with you almost completely. If OWS (who I support and has said all along that they are peacefully protesting) behaved this way and actually brought on this violence then by law then they should be punished as I would be if I had broken the law. But once in custody it is the police's responsibility to make sure that the ones arrested are not injured and receive medical attendtion. Even if they had not been processed, when I have an epiliptiic seizure, there is no doubt it is real. If during an arrest an officer sees that the person is injured he needs to get that person to get help. It will not stop them from being arrested later. I live in Omaha. Once a man in custody kept screaming that he was in pain. He was told to be quiet and they would get someone later. He was found dead on the floor of his cell from an ulcer. To die that way would be excrucateing. But the attitude is that he was a prisoner and they were guards.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

You are an idiot.

Cruel and unusual punishment of anyone, including prisoners, is ILLEGAL at any time.

All Americans have a right to protest, no matter what you think of the protesters, their protests, and what is being protested. You obviously disagree with Occupy Oakland, but making excuses for government ridiculousness is disgusting.

Civil disobedience is enacted against what people believe are unjust laws. You may believe the law is just. You may believe it's okay to let Americans freeze and die in the cold while millions of buildings are left vacant. Marginalization and disenfranchisement are often protected by the law. But the law is wrong. If you think it is unfallible, then no thank you, I won't be needing any of your fascism today.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

yo...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

Thank you for your rational response to some very irrational whining. Perhaps at the next scheduled riot (which I believe is Saturday) the participants will remember to keister their medication before they get on the bus.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2012 @ 3:09 am

Cook to order? Are you referring to the peanut butter they didn't get?

In any case, isn't the job or the police, whether they support the protesters personally or not, to uphold public safety? Not providing medication, for starters, is a blatant violation off their job responsibility. Officers are paid with tax dollars, which I pay, to protect, not harm the public.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2012 @ 8:20 am

Doesn't everywhere in the world have secret behind-the-door brutality principles? We shouldn't be surprised about police brutality-- it's certainly not the first time it has happened.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 11:03 am

Doesn't everywhere in the world have secret behind-the-door brutality principles? We shouldn't be surprised about police brutality-- it's certainly not the first time it has happened. It has been a fact in America since day one. The question is, what now?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 11:05 am

No, right wingers approve of that behavior by police. It's the one thing they do want to pay taxes for...beating people they don't like. After all, they would never be in that situation themselves, and if you are you must need a beating.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 02, 2012 @ 12:34 am

well the only ignorance i see here is yours city hall was vandalized at the same time the mass arrest yet the arrest was over 1 mile away and not linked to the march stop being a brainless zombie eating up ever thing the media tells you if you think that the protester where being violent to the cops then that is stupid there where over 400 protesters that could have overpowered them yet they where trying to run

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

And you miss the point that the criminality and violence started hours earlier with the attempts to storm the convention center. Hours before the mass arrests when the crowd refused to disperse.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime or remain in the presence of those who do.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 8:15 am

If by criminality, you mean attempt to occupy a building that had been unused for over 6 years, in order to turn it into a community center, then yes. But what do you think is more criminal: the american people taking an unused building from a big bank to use to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and give medical attention to the ill, or big banks taking houses from american people because they can't pay their mortgages because they have to pay taxes (more than those same banks and corporations do) in order to bail out that same bank that foreclosed their home. And as for "violence", as someone who was on the streets of oakland that day, I can easily say that the "violent acts" the protesters inflicted on OPD was limited to throwing dirt clods, bottles, and the occasional rock. However, this "violence" was met with brute force.

If your statement about doing time for committing a crime was true, then CEO's of big banks and corporations would have been behind bars a long time ago. Open your eyes...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

shit stain left behind, that was occupy SF.

So given a huge convention center, the paramedics would be dragging OD's out of that place daily.

Posted by guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

The City Hall incident happened at the same time as the 400 peaceful protesters were arrested outside the YMCA. None of the City Hall folks were arrested or caught. They were 2 SEPARATE incidents. Don't let the media or cops lie to you about that one!
You can find videos of this on you tube from oak fo sho

Posted by Free Speech is the right to Protest! on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

Those happened *after* people were being shot with rubber bullets and hit with pepper spray and being forced back into the crowd to be arrested, regardless of press affiliation or involvement with the protest.

The OPD is violating its own crowd control rules and yet the right wingers still insist that the Occupy protesters are to blame for all their ills.

It's funny how the Tea Party refuses to accept responsibility even for those with a microphone in their hand and an international listening audience, but a handful of jerks are the responsibility of tens of thousands of uninvolved Occupy participants.

Posted by Darklady on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

If you were trying to make a comment relative to the article, I believe that the police mostly arrested the non-violent protesters -- the vandalism at city hall occurred while most of the officers were tied up in the kettle in front of the YMCA, and most of those vandalizers got away.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

don't try to relate two separate events similar to what the media has presented over and over.

Oakland protestors did clash with police earlier that morning. Then that night, another crowd was marching and was "kettled" and then tear gassed and hit with rubber bullets and flash bang grenades aka chemical weapons and explosives were used against a crowd containing children as they kettled them in a public park.

Then after the peaceful protestors escaped a stampede by tearing out a section of chain link fence allowing the crowds somewhere to go, they were kettled again at the YMCA were many were beaten and abused or denied constitutional rights. OakFoSho's camera footage is very clear and precise regarding this incident, live footage is hard to debate folks.

No audible commands were given prior to the arrests being made at the YMCA. Once that occurred another group of protestors went to city hall where the property damage occurred. This part I do not condone as it is against the law, and we need the law on our side.

if your going to comment, make it an educated one please.

Posted by ProSeFighter on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

My, and most #j28 arrestees' crime? "Failure to disperse," with no dispersal order given, and no avenues of exit available.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

There were multiple orders to disperse given. It's a lie to say that it didn't happen.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfhrmtNXrOk

All the protesters are kettled and not doing anything, and the cops gassed them.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

An order to disperse doesn't trump the constitution.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 6:26 am

I apologies but when did they tell them to disperse?

I was watching the live footage from across the pond (i'm British) and I found the police officer being interviewed for the CNN a complete liar. I was SHOCKED how easily he could lie to the screens.

And they didn't even get into the damn building

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 7:07 am

jail WAS for sissies. Geez, can't keep my tired homophobic tropes straight these days ...

Posted by marke on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

You seem very uneducated. Not only that you're more than likely misinformed or an over weight Cheeto junky sucking off of the governments cock. Most likely though you're all the above.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

When did the 1st amendment of the Constitution become a crime???

Posted by SamanthaMarie on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

Until next time they come in to YOUR house. Have you not read anything on how atrocities started during WWII? If you don't stand up for each other now, when they come for you, no one will be left to stand up for you.
So maybe don't be so flip about what our country is supposed to stand for. Because if what you say is true, then guess who committed crime when passing bills against our constitution? It's called TREASON.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

cant do the time dont do the crime it is not a crime to support and uphold our first amendment. i just pray it does and will not conflict or escalate to the second amendment. . . for then the world in America will be dangerous. so stfu quit bitching because guess what the revolution is HERE AND IT ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE if you weren't so blind you would see 8 months ago that over the sea other countries started going through this, but you were to busy watching snookie get fucked or drunk or arrested you were to caught up in your wii and x box. not going on the internet and understanding Facebook and MySpace isn't the only sites you can go onto to see what is happening. WE ARE ANONYMOUS AND WE ARE IN THE GROUP OF OCCUPY WALL STREET AND ANY OTHER OCCUPY MOVEMENT ! WHAT IS THE 1% SCARED THAT WE 99% HAVE AWOKEN TO THE LIES BEING SHUVED DOWN YOUR NECK. do you really think rich people care about us. no they want to know how to make big bucks fast. we are the stock, the new world stock, would you live like this ? no , then you would be the one to go join anonymous and you would be the one to get labled a terrorist. if someone didnt do it who would ? ill leave you with this question IF WE DIDNT WHO WOULD ?

Posted by Guest anonymous on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

Nice try. No crime was committed. They were arrested for disturbing the peace, which is invalid because it was not late enough to enforce that law. The First Amendment protects rights to protest, and that doesn't even include the fact that there are laws in place in order to protect citizens from police violence. OPD has been under strict orders for crowd control tactics since 2003, and as a result broke several laws on January 28. They will have to pay hefty settlements for what they have done to the protesters.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

That is the most ignorant statement I have heard.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

In America, judge & jury determine guilt and punishment, not the police. You must be thinking of Iran.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 11:00 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

Time should not include physical abuse or medical neglect.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

Those 400 arrested didn't commit crime. They were marching peacefully. The police gave no order to disperse and then wouldn't allow any of the marchers to leave the march, even at a prior location hours earlier when they did issue a notice to disburse. Marchers were allowed into the Y from members and staff. This police state where rights to march are met with billy clubs and mass arrests isn't the country our young men and women went to Iraq to fight for...

Posted by Police Violence Ain't for America on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

i can do the time, but i think somewhere in our bill of rights, we arent supposed to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. it is very cruel, but sadly its not that unusual anymore.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

Are you really that stupid? Free speech and the right to protest are basic freedoms in this country. We are guaranteed these freedoms by the US Constitution you moron! Protesting is not a crime...it is a constitutionally protected RIGHT!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 6:19 am

Please tell me you are trolling. The constitution clearly forbids cruel and unusual punishment. If you do not think this is cruel, then get in line behind all those who say waterboarding is not torture yet refuse to have it done to themselves.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 8:07 am

Since when does doing time have anything to do with ILLEGAL TORTURE by the police? Duh!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2012 @ 8:48 am

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