Report criticizes OPD's response to Occupy demonstrations

The Oakland Police Department received some tough criticism in a 121-page report on the October 25 Occupy demonstration.
June 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Oakland police received some harsh criticism for the way they handled the Occupy demonstrations last fall, but Oakland's police chief is not taking offense.

Details of the 121-page report were made available to city leaders more than six weeks ago, but they held on to it. They released it to the media less than five minutes before they held a carefully worded and brief press conference.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Police Chief Howard Jordan and city administrator Deanna Santana explained the findings of an independent report, commissioned by the city, focusing on the response by Oakland police to the October 25th Occupy Oakland protest. It was the city's largest demonstration that took to the streets.

"I said at the time, we had nothing to hide and we were eager to learn what we did right as well as areas that needed improvement and corrective action," said Santana.

The report was not kind. Among the criticisms, it calls the Oakland Police Department's response to protesters last year, "flawed by inadequate staffing, insufficient planning and lack of understanding of crowd management techniques." The report even called many of their policing methods "outdated".

According to the report, a decision was made to clear the plaza without a plan in place on what to do when protesters returned, leading to a violent clash that would place the department under further scrutiny.

City leaders were given a draft of the review in April, but did not release it to media until Thursday. The report does not focus on any individuals. In fact, the only mention of wounded Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was made by Chief Jordan who said that Olsen's case is the subject of two administrative and one criminal investigation.

The report recommends that OPD institute a mutual aid policy to include OPD and responding agencies abilities -- a move Jordan says, will require time and additional resources.

"These are things that we can't do overnight, these are long range changes that I intend to implement. It's just not something we're going to do right away," said Jordan.

The panel made 68 findings and recommendations. According to OPD, 21 percent are completed and 53 percent are underway. The Frazier Group is made up of individuals with a background in law enforcement.


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