May 1 A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the
city of Oakland and its police department to submit a plan
within a week to address a backlog of complaints stemming from
their handling of Occupy protests, threatening sanctions if they
fail to do so.
The mandate by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson follows
the release of a report by an outside monitor that said Oakland
police used "an overwhelming military-type response" to the
The report also confirmed, for the first time from an
official source, that an Oakland police SWAT team member fired a
beanbag round at an Iraq war veteran during clashes in October.
Former U.S. Marine Scott Olsen was critically wounded by
what protesters said at the time was a tear gas canister fired
Olsen's case reinvigorated the Occupy movement against
economic inequality, and the confrontations with police in
subsequent protests turned Oakland into a focal point for the
movement as demonstrators rallied against what they described as
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Oakland on
Tuesday as part a nationwide movement against economic
inequality. Demonstrators clashed with police, who fired
multiple rounds of tear gas and flash bang grenades. At least
nine people were arrested.
The Oakland Police Department has been subject to
court-ordered external monitoring and review since the 2003
settlement of what was known as the Riders case, in which four
officers were accused of planting evidence, fabricating police
reports and using unlawful force, according to the Oakland
"It would be problematic enough if, as seems inevitable,
(Oakland police's) compliance levels were to backslide as a
result of their failure to address the Occupy Oakland complaints
in a timely fashion," Henderson wrote in his three-page written
"Such failures would be further indication that, despite the
changed leadership at the City of Oakland and its police
department, (Oakland police) might still lack the will,
capacity, or both to complete the reforms to which they so long
ago agreed," he wrote.
Henderson said that if officials fail to submit the plan by
next week and implement it by May 14, "the court will consider
appropriate sanctions, including the imposition of daily or
weekly monetary sanctions, until compliance is achieved."
Oakland police officials announced last week that the
department was making significant changes to how it trains
officers to control large crowds following criticism over its
practices during Occupy Oakland protests that sometimes turned
violent. It received more than 1,000 misconduct complaints
during those protests.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)