Batts critical of OPD response to Occupy protests

May 1, 2012 7:45:14 AM PDT
The public will hear for the first time harsh words by former Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts -- criticizing city leaders for how they handled the Occupy protests last fall. The combative and controversial interview is part of a new museum exhibit.

The Oakland Museum of California has put together an exhibit called "Portraits from the Occupation." In it, former police chief Anthony Batts sits down to analyze, and criticize, how the city and police handled occupy protests back in October. The former chief, who resigned the day the occupation began last year, says "rookie" city leaders took the wrong approach.

"The reality all you had was people sleeping on grass. You can replace grass, you do those things over. That is no reason to move quickly, you take your time, you use diplomacy, you talk to people. As a matter of fact the agency that trained me I think did the best job in the nation, which was LAPD, in how they handled their Occupy situation," said Batts.

He says the LAPD took its time and had a plan. Since 2003, Oakland PD has had a different problem hanging over its head; federal monitors are overseeing mandated changes in the department as part of a settlement over misconduct by four rouge officers. The Bay Citizen is reporting the monitors are "thoroughly dismayed." Their new report says officers are not correctly reporting why they stop residents -- which could mean racial profiling. Out of 77 use-of-force incidents, officers unnecessarily pulled their guns 15 percent of the time and their supervisors ruled it appropriate. The report also reveals police received more than 1,000 misconduct complaints related to Occupy.

Former Chief Batts talks about the monitors in his museum interview as well -- he questions whether the process is really addressing the city's problems.


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