Oakland Police Chief Hands Down Punishment for Occupy 2011

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said today that he wants to discipline 44 of his officers for misconduct in their handling of Occupy Oakland protesters at three major demonstrations in the past year.

A scathing report released Friday by the Oakland, Calif., police department came down hard on certain Oakland officers for their part in three Occupy protests on the streets of Oakland last year.

It also said for the first time that it was an Oakland police officer who fired the bean bag shot that hit and critically injured an Iraq war veteran. That officer, according to Chief Howard Jordan, is also the subject of a criminal investigation connected to the injury to Scott Olsen.

The city's official report followed an unprecedented 1,127 complaints by citizens against officers during those protests that happened on Oct. 25 and Nov. 2 of 2011, and Jan. 28 of 2012.
They were part of the Occupy movement that brought tens of thousands of people to Oakland for a series of demonstrations that turned violent.

It found many of the officers used excessive force as they deployed bean bags and used their batons. The investigation also said they found officers failed to activate cameras to record video of the confrontations.

 Chief Jordan said he wants to fire two officers, demote another and suspend or give a written reprimand to more than a dozen more for their actions during the violent protests. Another 23 officers will get written reprimands and 3 will get counseling and additional training.

"The findings of these investigations are not a reflection of the entire department,” Jordan said in a statement. “The vast majority of officers did what they were asked to do, and conducted themselves appropriately. But those officers who did not adhere to policy are being held accountable for their actions. By holding police officers accountable, and by disciplining those who do not meet OPD’s high standards of conduct, we honor those officers who maintain their commitment to Constitutional policing and faithfully adhere to the policies which keep both officers and the public safe.”

All of the officers who face discipline and/or the loss of their job have the right to a hearing before anything becomes official.

We spoke to Scott Olsen and his attorney. They both said they were gratified by the report.

"It's good news. Maybe it's a sign that OPD is moving in the right direction," Olsen said.

His attorney called the report refreshing. "It's not the norm to have a really meaningful action when some officers misbehave," Mark Martel said.

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