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Crossing the Line: The Oakland Police Department Versus the Crowd 

Wednesday, Aug 7 2013

Page 5 of 5

Additional scrutiny seems to help force a culture of accountability into place. Since receiving criticism for its handling of Occupy in the fall of 2011, OPD has begun holding crowd-control training sessions again, with several taking place throughout 2012 and early 2013.

Even though his legal case has been settled, Campbell still feels uneasy about OPD's ability to reform. "I think they're extremely resistant to the message that they need to reform," he says. "I would like to think, with all the new oversight in place, that something like this won't happen again."

Stiers, one of the plaintiffs injured on Oct. 25, adds, "My only hope is that this suit and the others that are in litigation will help spur policy to prevent abuse, misconduct, and brutality in the future. There needs to be proper oversight, period."

Police have applied force at Oakland demonstrations, but without using it purposefully. The crowd-control policy specifies that force can be used as a means to an arrest; however, none of the NLG's plaintiffs were charged with violating any law when they were shot, beaten, or arrested. The wanton use of force does not remove troublemakers from crowds; it merely creates an atmosphere of fear that intimidates protesters from exercising their constitutional rights.

OPD has shown that it won't reform without a fight — and citizens will continue to be caught in the crossfire. In the meantime, negotiations are under way to revise the crowd-control policy. "All the protections and restrictions of the existing policy are intact or strengthened," Lederman says. "The question is going to be whether OPD can comply."

About The Author

Kate Conger

Kate Conger has written for SF Weekly since 2011.


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