OPD chief talks to ABC7 about demonstration images

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan
November 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Hundreds, if not thousands of cameras documented last Wednesday's "Occupy Oakland" demonstration. Some of them captured police officers in questionable situations and Monday night Oakland's police chief spoke to ABC7 about some of those images.

In an effort to be more transparent, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan reached out to ABC7. He says his department has been swamped by a number of documented officer-involved incidents he still hasn't reviewed yet, but he wanted to comment on one incident in particular.

During last Wednesday's general strike, an Oakland police officer refused to explain why he covered his name plate with black tape.

"I thought it was fair to show that there are maybe a small part of Oakland PD that are not following policy," said "Black Pixels," a citizen journalist.

A citizen journalist, who wants to be identified only as "Black Pixels" says he confronted a commanding officer who corrected the situation by peeling the tape off.

"When I saw it, I was appalled by what I saw," said Jordan.

Jordan says concealing identity in this instance violates the department's policy and the California penal code.

"That is not representative of our officers here and what they should be doing. It's against our policy. I did order an immediate investigation," said Jordan.

However, Jordan would not comment on another video shot in Frank Ogawa Plaza on the same night that shows a demonstrator getting shot while he was peacefully filming yards away. He says the facts surrounding this particular "use of force" incident aren't as clear. But citizen journalist Scott Campbell, who shot the video, and got shot by what he thinks is a bean bag says it's pretty clear to him.

"I was on public property, I was no threat to the officer, there was no confrontation or violence, so I proceeded to film the line from that distance, and as you can see from the video, I moved further and further away from the line," said Campbell.

Campbell says the shot came from about 25 feet away.

"So had it been any higher, it could have hit my genitalia and seriously wounded me," said Campbell.

Jordan says it's under investigation and his department has nothing to hide, but these citizen journalists feel they're playing an important role in keeping them honest.

"Now that technology is in anybody's hands and quickly shared, then maybe cops will start acting accountable for their actions first rather than thinking about what they're doing because it could be recorded, it can be put on the Internet and can be shared worldwide instantly," said "Black Pixels."

As we mentioned, the name plate incident violates California's penal code and now internal investigators are looking into whether that officer could face possible charges.


Load Comments