Oakland Officials Want You to Tattle on Vandals Who Trashed the City in Occupy Protests
Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker and City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan are asking members of the public to snitch on nefarious protesters by turning over whatever video footage or photos they might have shot during the recent protests in Oakland.
SF Weekly readers are intimately familiar with the peaceful protests that ended in destruction in downtown Oakland. Vandals smashed windows, started fires, burned cars, and trashed storefronts -- and for no good reason! City leaders point the finger at a small group of anarchists, known as the black bloc, who seem to use Occupy protests as a chance to bully local businesses and violently confront police.
In the most recent May 1 protest, which was organized by Occupy, chaos erupted again in downtown, where, among many things, a police car was burned. Now city leaders are asking anyone who might have video footage of these vandals in action to come forward and help the city build a case against them.
"Oakland champions the First Amendment rights of demonstrators. However, we will not tolerate individuals hijacking demonstrations to trash our town and act out in destructive or harmful ways," Parker said.
The City of Oakland has retained an investigator to review video and photographic evidence. As evidence becomes available, the City Attorney's Office plans to file lawsuits to recover damages so that taxpayers aren't shelling out money for this mess.
Already, Oakland has sued three individuals who were arrested on suspicion of vandalizing city property during recent protests. On person was arrested after a police officer saw him take a metal chair and smash the windows of a city building in the early morning hours of Nov. 3, 2011.
Two more defendants were arrested on Jan. 28 for allegedly spray-painting public property in downtown Oakland.
In any event, if you are sick and tired of these vandals and you have evidence to boot, here's how you can help:
Videos or photos can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed directly to the Neighborhood Law Corps at 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Sixth Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. Identifying information should be included for verification purposes.