Federal Monitor Raises Questions About OPD

NBC Bay Area obtains federal monitor draft report on OPD handling of Occupy events.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    One man was killed when a fight at a house party in Paterson, N.J. spilled into the street.

    On the eve of a massive Occupy demonstration in Oakland, a newconfidential federal report obtained Monday by NBC Bay Area raises questions on whether the police department is able to handle such protests.

    The draft version of the report, issued by Independent Monitor Robert Warshaw, states: "For the current reporting period, there has been outright stagnation the overall compliance picture."

    To read the entire report, click here.

    The monitor looked at the Occupy-related activities from October 1 to December 31.

    The monitor's office was satisfied in some instances with the police department's performance. But in others, "We were thoroughly dismayed by what we observed," the report stated.

     "I cannot overstate our concern that although progress on NSA (negotiated settlement agreement) compliance has been slow, even those advancements may have been put in doubt in the face of these events," says the report, referring to the international embarrassment when Oakland police in October launched tear gas and other projectiles into a crowd of Occupy protestors. One of those projectiles fractured the skull of Scott Olsen, an an Iraq war veteran protesting at the site.

    Calls to the Oakland police department were not immediately returned. But last week, the police chief and mayor held a news conference vowing to do a better job at crowd management, and pledged every officer would be trained in these new techniques as soon as possible.

    The monitor's report raised concerns about supervisory duties during the Occupy protests.

    "The command structure for the event was not finalized until the day of the event," according to the report of the police department's handling of the Oct. 25 protest. "This allowed mininal time for pre-planning among the commands staff."

    "We learned that OPD provided only limited training on such topics to its own personnel and there was even less corrdinated traning among OPD and the neighborhing agencies that are part of mutual aid agreements," the report stated.

    The monitor's report says the office is reviewing use-of-force incidents, including what happened to Scott Olsen, to determine if there were violations of OPD policy. The monitor says some of the videos the federal team has seen "are concerning as to the manner which non-deadly munitions were utilized."

    While the investigation continues, the monitor wrote, "We hope the department will take heed of the lessons it has learned" for future deomonstrations.