Judge Threatens Sanctions Against Oakland Police For ‘Military-Type Response’ To Occupy Protests


Written by Tara Culp-Ressler

Yesterday, a federal judge ordered Oakland’s police department to submit a plan to address numerous unresolved complaints regarding their handling of the Occupy Oakland protests, warning that failure to comply within a week could lead to sanctions. District Judge Thelton Henderson’s mandate comes just a day after the release of a report by an outside monitor that concluded Oakland police used “an overwhelming military-type response” to Occupy’s demonstrations — the first official report to confirm Occupy Oakland’s struggles against police brutality.

The Oakland police department has received more than 1,000 misconduct complaints since the Occupy protests began, most have which have become backlogged. The department has been under court-ordered external monitoring and review since 2003, after four officers were accused of planting evidence, fabricating police reports and using excessive force. Henderson’s mandate sets strict deadlines for the department to clean up its act while continuing to comply with the reforms that stemmed from that 2003 case:

HENDERSON: 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. 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. The court will consider appropriate sanctions, including the imposition of daily or weekly monetary sanctions, until compliance is achieved.

The Oakland police force’s clashes with Occupy demonstrators have been well-documented on ThinkProgress. On October 25, police attempted to subdue protesters with heavy-handed tactics such as rubber bullets, flash grenades, and smoke bombs — and ended up injuring an Iraq War veteran in the process. The Oakland police department later rejected an ACLU public records request to investigate the October events, and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s legal adviser resigned in outrage over the city’s treatment of the Occupy protesters.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


Related Stories:

Occupy LA’s May 1st General Strike: A Firsthand Account

May Day! Protesters in the Streets

Why I Got Tear Gassed at Occupy Oakland


AP Photo/Ben Margot


Curtis S.
Curtis S5 years ago

Any policeman/woman who sets their selves up as judge and executioner is breaking the law , and should be arrested and prosecuted for his crimes. NO EXCEPTIONS. There is no law that gives police the right to punish people,All people are innocent until proven guilty by a court.

Robert Tedders
Robert T5 years ago

GOOD FOR THE JUDGE!!! *hands judge a cup of coffee* "Here, your Honour, something to keep you awake through the interminable legal challenges that ruling will face!"

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley5 years ago

Wow--an honest judge--he is to be commended!

Lilithe Magdalene

Awesome - glad the judges are addressing this!

Thomas Camoin
Thomas Camoin5 years ago

Willian C. I am not usually a conspiracy theorist however your comment really rings a bell. The 2 people who I saw hit police officers were not arrested, and the second one stuck around long enough they probably could have arrested him. All the people doing this were young white and wearing black. I have footage on FB if you want to see. Thomas Camoin

Muriel C.
Muriel C5 years ago

Well the Police has the law on their side when they are doing their job properly and treating legitimate protesters as enemy combatants isn't it by far. The court did its job, which is to insure that no one is above the law and that the executive doesn't oppress the citizens.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

Thank heavens for the judiciary this time!

Cherry M.
Cherry M5 years ago

Thomas....I'm with you. The police MUST have the law on their side. If protesters act like wild freaks, dystroying property and generally behaving badly, the police must come in and stop it. If any poster here (those agianst the police) were to have their cars damaged, their property torn up or suffer personal injury by protesters gone wild I'll just bet you all would change your tune pretty d**n fast and be the first screaming 'where's the police when you need them?'.

Can't have it both ways..........

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold5 years ago

It is time that a judge said more than "naughty, naughty" to the police department. It is time they were held accountable for what they have done.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank the gods for this judge.