The Oakland police chief wants to discipline 44 officers over the Occupy protests. The city hired an outside group to investigate more than 1,100 complaints against police. On Friday night one of the protesters injured by officers told us he thinks it has taken too long, but it is a step in the right direction.
Almost a year after a violent confrontation on Oct. 25, 2011 between officers and Occupy Oakland protesters police are assigning blame. Chief Howard Jordan confirms it was one of his officers who fired a bean bag at protester Scott Olsen, seriously injuring the Iraq War veteran.
"Personally, I don't think him losing his job is nearly enough. I think he committed a crime and should be put in jail," said Olsen.
No one is saying what will happen to that unidentified officer, but a just-released independent investigation claims 44 Oakland officers broke department rules during several Occupy protests over the past year. Violations are mostly minor and include infractions like officers failing to turn on their video recorders, all the way up to false arrest and excessive use of force.
"I think it might be the first step in the right direction for OPD towards accountability," said Olsen.
Without naming names, the chief is recommending termination for two officers, one demotion, 15 suspensions, counseling and training for three officers and written reprimands for 23 others.
"This was very tough for Howard Jordan to do. It is very tough to discipline officers who you're asking to go out in often violent situations, but he's a good cop and I think he's trying to be fair," said Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.
But the head of the police union is furious, blaming City Hall for botching the Occupy protests and making officers the scapegoats.
"These officers never asked to be put on the front lines of Occupy multiple times. City leaders failed through their indecisiveness when it came to Occupy here," said Barry Donelan, the Oakland Police Officers Association president.
Oakland is coming up on the one-year deadline to investigate all the complaints and the officers could be facing some hearings and arbitrations. The union is promising to defend them vigorously.