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After Protests, Oakland Police Face More Scrutiny


The Oakland Police Department's crowd control policies are likely to come under even more scrutiny after yesterday's Occupy protests.

As my colleague, Shoshana Walter, reported, federal monitors are "thoroughly dismayed" by the department's response to last fall's Occupy protest. The city is paying the monitors millions of dollars to oversee the department's compliance with court ordered reforms. 

The department has a backlog of citizen complaints from last fall's protests, and this week U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson ordered the department to submit a plan within a week to deal with that backlog or face sanctions.

Last week, Chief Howard Jordan said that officers would receive additional training in crowd control by the end of April.

Though Tuesday's demonstrations were mostly peaceful, there were several violent clashes between officers and protesters on Tuesday and at least one incident of a policeman using a Taser to subdue a suspect.

Some protesters threw paint at officers and vandalized property:

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East Bay Express's Twitter Photo
East Bay Express's Twitter Photo

Police used flash-bang grenades and tear gas to disperse crowds and arrested 25 demonstrators. KTVU has the names of those arrested here.

May Day protests also resulted in violence in San Francisco. A group of protesters took over an empty building at 888 Turk Street Tuesday afternoon. The Archdiocese of San Francisco owns the building, which protesters also tried to occupy last month.

Two people tossed bricks and pipes from the building's roof Tuesday afternoon. A press release from the San Francisco Police Department stated: "A brick hurled by a member of the group struck a bystander in theface. These actions subsequently led to the arrest of Jesse Nesbitt who was booked on felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer andvandalism."

Early Wednesday morning, police moved in and cleared the building, arresting 26 people.

Jesse Nesbitt

Brick and Pipes

According to KCBS reporter Doug Sovern, police tied the Turk Street action to another demonstration that turned violent in the Mission District on Monday night.

An aggressive group of protesters broke away from a nighttime rally in Dolores Park, vandalizing the Mission District police station, local businesses and cars, smashing windows and flinging paint.

One of the targeted businesses, Four Barrel Coffee, took to Twitter to voice its dismay:

The Chronicle reported Tuesday that business owners are frustrated by the San Francisco Police Department's failure to curtail the violence, during which only one person was arrested. Mission Mission has lots of coverage and documentation of the destruction. (Oakland businesses also voiced concern over the actions of some protesters.)

Another May Day protest at Market and Montgomery in downtown San Francisco was calm and festive compared to the violence in the Mission and Oakland, although it did cause a traffic snarl.

There was the usual clamor of people using loudspeakers, mic checks, big puppets, chalk art, performances, and even kids playing in the streets.

Kids Playing May Day

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