Police defend raid tactics at Occupy Oakland protest

More than 100 people were arrested in Oakland overnight as police raided an ongoing protest encampment.

Out of the raid, this video surfaced. It shows a bloody and stunned young man being carried away by protesters after being pelted in the head with an unknown object.

KTVU reports that officers “fired tear gas and beanbag rounds, clearing out the makeshift city in less than an hour.”

The video is peppered with obscenities and shows protesters throwing objects back at police while tear gas and explosions fill the street.

The man, Scott Olsen, is an Iraq vet and according to a friend who has visited him in the hospital, he is in “serious, but stable” condition.

It’s not clear what hit Olsen. Police say they used tear gas and bean-bag rounds.

Oakland’s interim police chief, Howard Jordan, said the tear gas was absolutely necessary.

“We were in a position where we had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks,” he told the LA Times.

But this video shows police apparently also used “flash-bangs” or stun grenades during the raid.

Mother Jones, which had two reporters on the scene, also reports that flash-bang grenades were used.

During a press conference, Oakland police deny using flash-bang grenades.

Question: Did the Police deploy rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades?

Answer: No, the loud noises that were heard originated from M-80 explosives thrown at police by protesters. In addition, Police fired approximately four bean-bag rounds at protesters to stop them from throwing dangerous objects at the officers.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Whatever really happened in Oakland, the sad reality is that police cannot be trusted to do the right thing or refrain from doing the wrong one.

    They’re a bit better than criminals, and a bit worse than the law abiding general population.

  • David

    A lot of the video that is out there on this event makes the police look pretty bad. I seem to recall Tea Partiers carrying guns to protests and not being arrested. Is it time for the Occupy crowd to arm themselves?

    I can’t see any good coming from it other than maybe the police would be in a situation where they couldn’t arbitrarily beat down a peacefully protesting populace.

  • David

    I read earlier (sorry for no source can’t find it ATM) that there was a man carrying a assault rifle in a southern state (where is is apparently legal to open carry) around an occupy ____ movement…

    Supposedly a reporter questioned him about it and he said he didn’t sympathize with the protesters cause, but was there to “ensure their right to congregate and protest”

    Personally I find it refreshing to see people exercising rights given to them by the constitution and discouraging as authorities try to enforce laws that encroach on those rights… though I do find the whole thing way to similar to the proletariat rising up against the Bourgeois, perhaps the (not really) free market has failed us…

  • John P II

    It’s been widely reported that Oakland PD violated their own crowd control policies. Or, as the AP put it, they “lost patience.”

  • BJ

    I have hear the carrying gun claim a few places now.

    So explain to me how someone legally carrying, is similar to someone performing an illegal action?

    Or are those making this comparison saying the action of carrying a gun was illegal?

  • Joanna

    In the second video, watch closely between .20 and .24. You can hear the loud bang and see Scott Olson drop like a stone. Look carefully; once you spot it, you can see that he was struck down. He was hit in the head by a police tear gas cannister, and Highland Hospital has confirmed that he has a fractured skull, and under sedation while neurosurgeons decide what to do about the swelling of his brain. Scott Olson is from Wisconsin and served two tours of duty in Iraq. He now lives in the Bay Area and is a member of Iraq Veterans against the War. He was shot down like a dog.

    Oh, and yes, the cops stood there and waited until the crowd had gathered around to help him, and then lobbed another flash bang right into the group. Multiple videos and eyewitnesses over the course of the day have documented that his is a police riot, not police trying to quell protester violence. Where did I get my information? from multiple sources, not least The Guardian in the UK. I also used to live in Oakland, and this behavior by the police is consistent, unfortunately, with my observations and their record.

  • Duke Powell

    Having been involved in training that uses these types of ordinances, let me offer the following:

    1. Flash-bangs were used. Their purpose is to stun and disorient. I’ve had them explode at my feet and right over my head. Shrapnel consists of a pliable vinyl material. While it does appear the injured man went down as a result of a flash bang that detonated several yards away, I don’t see how that caused his injury… But it sure looks like it did.

    2. A saw an awful lot of smoke cannisters used which is different than CS gas. One doesn’t casually walk thru a cloud of CS gas – it is nasty stuff. While CS gas may have been used, I didn’t see very many people in videos who looked as if they had been gassed. I’ve been gassed.

    3. Rubber bullets were almost certainly not used. Many folks confuse “marking rounds” for rubber bullets. Marking rounds are shot from a weapon that looks like a grenade launcher and, if you look closely at the second video, you will see some officers carrying them. Their main purpose is to “mark” those who police have determined to be the main instigators of a disturbance with a powder like dye. While considered “less lethal” ordinance, these rounds can break bones and could be lethal if you were struck in the head. That is why police are trained to aim at the abdomen and lower.