Oakland became the media’s focal point of the Occupy Wall Street movement after the police took brutal actions against the mostly peaceful protestors last week.
The Oakland Police Department (OPD) has since released several messages to the community barely hinting at an apology for their actions. In fact, their press release last Wednesday morning denied that they used rubber bullets and flash grenades — “non-lethal” weapons that were, indeed, used by police the night before as seen in videos circulating through the internet.
As has also been widely publicized, the use of these weapons may be lethal in the case of one protestor, Iraq veteran Scott Olsen, who is still hospitalized.
“The City of Oakland Police Department will continue to place the highest value on policing in a manner that is both constitutional and ethical in its mission to provide a safe place to live, work, and play, free of crime and the fear of crime,” said Chief Howard Jordan in a closing remark of Friday’s press release.
We find that Jordan’s flowery language paints a pretty rosy picture in contrast with the actuality of his leadership and the OPD’s actions. The diction of these releases seem like they are inspired by the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. Its tone is inappropriate, to say the least, because there was nothing constitutional or ethical about Tuesday’s police response. In fact, it was just the opposite.
The Campanil supports the right to free speech and most of us are disgusted by the behavior of the OPD and their disingenuous press releases.
Our staff is divided on the larger OWS movement, but most of us agree that the incident Tuesday night made us feel a stronger sense of solidarity with the protestors than ever before.