Police distribute eviction notices to Occupy Oakland
In the wake of an apparently unrelated shooting death that occurred near the Occupy Oakland encampment on Thursday, it appears that the city may be making another push to force the protesters to disband.
A live blog at the Mercury News reported on Friday evening that “police are distributing eviction notices to campers at Occupy Oakland. Campers are wadding up and tossing out the eviction notices they were served earlier, while Mayor Jean Quan defended issuing the notices.”
Journalist Susie Cagle — who was recently tear-gassed and arrested while covering Occupy Oakland — posted an image of the eviction notice to her Twitter feed, commenting that it had been “described to me as the ‘get the fuck out’ notice.”
The notice begins, “The City of Oakland and its police department support and protect the right of all individuals to engage in free speech and their right to assemble. However, this encampment is a violation of the law.” It goes on to cite public health laws and threaten the protesters with arrest.
Quan’s statement about the notices reads, in part, “The risks are too great and it is time for the encampment to end.” According to the protesters, however, most of the half dozen emergency calls on Thursday cited by Quan were unrelated to the occupation, with the single exception of an incident involving a young protester who appeared to be intoxicated and was taken to a hospital by paramedics.
A sarcastic tweet from @occupyoakland commenting on the reports of shots being fired near the White House on Friday evening suggested, “Sounds like the Exec branch is fomenting violence. Lets evict them too.”
If the City of Oakland does intend to carry out mass arrests, they may have to do so without outside help. The Bay Citizen reports that many of the police and sheriff’s departments that previously cooperated with the Oakland police are becoming frustrated with Mayor Quan’s indecisiveness in having first evicted the protesters and then allowed them back, especially since they themselves are already financially pinched and understaffed.
According to The Bay Citizen, “Of the 17 agencies that responded to the call for mutual aid on Oct. 25, six that replied to Bay Citizen inquiries have spent a total of $425,000, a conservative estimate. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has spent upwards of $250,000, according to a department estimate, while the Berkeley Police Department and San Francisco Sheriff’s Department have spent more than $120,000 combined, according to preliminary estimates.”
“There are some chiefs and some city councils that I think are upset with having to keep sending officers to Oakland,” Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department stated. “And their point is: ‘Why are we sending people there when their own mayor can’t make a decision on what to do?’” Alameda is now planning to charge Oakland $1000 per twelve-hour shift for each deputy, except in a case of emergency.
Some of the departments also have concerns involving the possibility of legal liability, since the countywide mutual aid agreement under which they joined forces with the Oakland Police Department indicates that each agency bears the liability for its own use of excessive force. However, the financial issue appears to be the most pressing.
Photo by V. T. Vassilev (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.