Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012-01-31 "Occupy Oakland in urgent need of bail funds" posted by "Denver ABC"
Police Chief Howard Jordan has been quoted in AP saying there were almost 400 people arrested yesterday. There are many people who were arrested that need urgent medical attention, people who have been injured by the police or do not have their medication with them that they need to treat prior conditions. We need the money to bail these people out!
Many people who have medical needs were unable to prevent themselves from being arrested, or to retrieve their medication, because the police did not give a dispersal order– they just kettled. We are still gathering names.
Our bail funds have been dwindling significantly as a result of the police backlash against occupy oakland in the last month, if you are able, PLEASE donate – 10, 50, 100, whatever you can!

Support the Occupy Oakland Bail Fund
Please support Occupy Oakland activists by donating some money to our Bail Fund. Funds are managed by the Occupy Oakland Anti-Repression Committee.
 For more info see: [http://occupyoakland.org/generalassembly/committees/antirepression-committee/]
 Or email us: [antirepression@occupyoakland.org]

2012-01-31 "Occupy Oakland inmates at Santa Rita attacked- developing story" by Yael Chanoff from "San Francisco Bay Guardian" newspaper
In the aftermath of the mass arrests of Occupy Oakland protesters-- and whoever else happend to be on the wrong street at the wrong time-- on Jan. 28 in Oakland [http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2012/01/30/inside-occupy-oakland-protest], there have been loads of reports and rumors about brutality inflicted on those arrested. Most of those arrested were held in Santa Rita jail.

My observations:
I spent 20 hours in jail, and I saw some cruel treatment. I saw people suffering after being denied medication. I saw people with allergies to the food that was provided refused any substitute and unable to eat, sometimes for more than 24 hours. I saw people crammed into holding cells meant for groups a third their size, so that some people had to remain standing, sometimes for more than 24 hours. As many arrestees were wearing clothing coated in tear gas and pepper spray, those chemicals continued to waft through cells and affect all present.

I have reports directly from sources of arrested occupiers being beat up in jail with police batons. At least 20 people were ziptied, meaning their hands were cuffed behind their backs-- and more often than not, if they happen to be cuffed too tightly and their hands go numb and even blue, police won't loosen them-- for more than eight hours. I know that some people who were denied access to a restroom ended up sitting in their own vomit and urine for at least four hours in some cases.

Another report from Joshua Clover, a professor of English at UC Davis, who was released Monday night, :
"I was held for 53 hours for a misdemeanor charge which every single person here, and there, knows will never be brought, and indeed which will be met with a class action suit for wrongful arrest that the city of Oakland will be compelled to settle. I have a perforated peptic ulcer. Early on in the stay I requested non—prescription care — liquid antacid, which the jail keeps on hand — when I began to have an ulcer attack, which is to say, when I began to bleed internally. I was not given such care until an attorney was able to intervene by phone many hours later. I received one capful, which was mildly effective for about three hours. Further requests were ignored. As many will know, a bleeding ulcer attack is both painful and potentially fatal"

When I questioned Alameda County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant JD Nelson about this, he responded that "[Clover] was obviously seen by a medical person, and they said that was enough medicine."
But accoridng to Clover, via an email, "The one time that I received medication, a deputy came to the cell door accompanied by someone who may have been a nurse, holding a capful of antacid. I asked for more but was not given it." And was Clover seen by a medical professional to determine the correct amount of medication? He says, "Definitely not."
Also according to Clover, "Food was often not provided for periods of up to 14 hours. For a long period I shared a cell with 27 other people; it was about ten by ten feet. For a period I was in a cell labeled 'Maximum Occupancy: Two.' There were ten of us, three very sick. We stood. One of the people slumped over on the toilet, that being the alternative to standing."

"Three people I know were denied medication for HIV infections while being held for multiple days, which is a life-threatening choice made by the county"
"two women were denied anti-depressants that they had with them when they went to jail"

According to an anonymous source, "My 12x12 cell had 28 people. There was a toilet, a concrete bench, and enough hard floor space for three or four of us to sleep at a time. A girl in the cell across from ours told the guards she needed Lexapro or she would go into withdrawl. They ignored the request. One of my cellmates was HIV-positive. When I last saw him at 2 a.m. on Monday morning he had not yet been given his medications. As I exited the jail I saw a woman who had just been released lying on the floor. She was having a seizure and being tended to by a couple of firemen."

From Alyssa Eisenberg, who has multiple sclerosis:
"I take my medication at least twice a day...without it, the pain is, everything kind of goes numb and tightens up. Somtimes I can't even see without it. When  had to sign the booking form about noon i couldn't even see it, my vision was so blurry...I was told they don't give meds to people that are going to be cited and released, only to people that are going to stay and get charged."

Unconfirmed reports [http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/31/1060354/-Breaking:-Oakland-Arrestees-Tortured]:
[begin excerpt]
Daily Kos quotes an anonymous source who reports that "prisoners from the Oakland Commune were being denied medications (some had seizures) while the guards said they didnt care if they died. Some people were brutally beaten. The put tear gas in the vents of my cell twice."
According to Occupy Oakland media spokesperson Omar Yassin, a report that someone was tear gassed in the jail's hallway is likely credible.
[end excerpt]
Then there's the peolpe who were injured during the protests Jan. 28. Also according to Yassin:
[begin excerpt]
At least a dozen people had welts on their faces or bodies from being beaten by clubs or shot with rubber bullets. One woman was shot in both arms with rubber bullet; one man was shot in the face with rubber bullets while holding a video camera to document the events. Several protesters were shoved to the ground and received wounds on their faces while being arrested. Police raised their rubber-bullet rifles to the faces of protesters throughout the day, threatening attacks-- a rubber bullet to the face can cause brain damage and blindness.
[end excerpt]
A spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department refused to comment, although she did say that they've "been bombarded with calls about this all day." Shocker.

According to Alameda County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant JD Nelson, no complaints of mistreatment at Santa Rita have been filed.
Nelson said that peanut butter was made avaliable to vegans those allergic to meat, in direct contrast to what I witnessed in jail.
In response to reports that some detainees were held on buses in the Santa Rita parking lot for up to eight hours, during which time they were refused bathroom access and in some cases made to sit in their own urine and vomit, Nelson said that "Generally when they come to the jail the buses are unloaded fairly quickly. Obviously some people are going to go first, some last."
He told me that detainees were denied medication because "We do we allow them to take their medication in jail. People will try to smuggle stuff in."
When asked about reported beating in jail, Nelson replied, "I haven't gotten any reports of any skirmishes between officers and those arrested. We would report it if  there was any use of force,"
According to Nelson, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office has video footage of all of the areas in the jail where arrestees were held, and, unless there was a lawsuit preventing its release, he would make the footage available to me soon. For now he said, "I don't even know if they've been developed." (Is this 1984? Not in the Orwellian sense. In the technology sense.)
More on this soon. Send me information that you have, yael@sfbg.com

The "San Francisco Chronicle" has an article about abuse of those arrested, but it's short, and buried deep inside their print edition.
2012-02-02 "Occupy alleges abuses in jails, airs complaints, vows to keep up pressure" by Justin Berton from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Protesters arrested during an Occupy Oakland rally Saturday said they were abused by police, subjected to illegal mass arrests and suffered a litany of human rights violations while held at two county jails - which only strengthened their commitment.
Organizers held a news conference outside Oakland City Hall on Wednesday to denounce police and restate their goal to move into a vacant building. Members called for another demonstration Saturday night, the latest in what Occupy activists have dubbed "F- the police" rallies, as well as a march to a courthouse Monday.
"Even the people who suffered the most traumatizing experiences are back out here," said Caitlin Manning, an Occupy Oakland member. "Santa Rita (county jail) spawns rebels. People who go through that don't come out broken; they come out strengthened."
Earlier Wednesday, Police Chief Howard Jordan said he had assigned a team of investigators to look into Occupy protesters' allegations of police abuse.
"We take allegations of abuse seriously," he said. "Obviously, this is a very volatile situation that needs to be addressed immediately. We are not shying away from these allegations."
On Saturday night, hours after police turned back Occupy activists seeking to take over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, hundreds of protesters were arrested outside the YMCA on Broadway. Police said the protesters had ignored dispersal orders, but Occupy activists said they never heard any such order.
Noah Zimmerman, 31, an information-technology consultant from Richmond, said he would have left the area had police given him the chance. Instead, he was arrested and spent 24 hours in jail.
"I did not hear an order to disperse because there was no order to disperse," Zimmerman said. "I had no intention of going to jail."
On Sunday, Jordan said his officers had made the dispersal orders and "rightfully conducted the arrests."
Once detained, protesters said they had waited in plastic handcuffs for hours before deputies processed them into two county jails.
Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, said that with more than 350 bookings, it was the busiest day in nearly 30 years. He said he was unaware of any complaints filed against the jails.
Nelson said officials had planned to send most of those arrested to Glenn Dyer Detention Facility in downtown Oakland, but protesters gathered outside the building and forced drivers to divert buses carrying 250 people to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
"Their own actions caused their own slowdown," Nelson said.

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