Unnecessary Force Against Protesters
April 09, 2003
Eleven Articles About The Police Attack Against Protesters: Oakland, California - April 7, 2003

I wish I had more time to blog these one at a time or make them display prettier.

But I don't :-)

Here's the scoop for those of you who are interested.



OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - Oakland police fired rubber bullets to disperse about 750 anti-war demonstrators on Monday in what was believed to be the first use of the projectiles against U.S. protesters since the American-led war on Iraq began. ... "I have been to many protests over the years, and I have never seen police resort to shooting people because they didn't like where they were standing," said Scott Fleming, 29, a lawyer hit several times in the back.

"They had loaded guns and started charging."

An Oakland police spokeswoman said officers warned before firing. At least a dozen protesters were arrested.

"We gave our dispersal order, we gave them an order, we gave them ample time to disperse," said police spokeswoman Danielle Ashford. "When we give our dispersal order, that's pretty much it. (If) there are safety issues involved, that's when we step in."

The action is believed to be the first police use of anti-crowd munitions against U.S. demonstrators since President Bush launched an invasion aimed at toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

... Leone Reinbold, a spokeswoman for Direct Action to Stop the War which organized the protest, said she saw a policeman run his motorcycle into one woman and another man get hit with a rubber bullet to the nose.

"We weren't there to confront the police. We set up a peaceful picket line," she said. "The worst injury was to the long, tried-and-true tradition in this country of picketing."

Jerry Drelling, a spokesman for American President Lines, the company that was the object of the protest, said it has some government contracts but declined to provide details. He said no one at the firm had been injured.

"The Oakland police department managed to keep the ingress and egress open so that worked out pretty well," he said. "We're trying to run a business and you want to keep the gates open."

2. http://www.theksbwchannel.com/news/2095292/detail.html

Police Fire 'Sting Balls' At Oakland Protesters Demonstrators Stage Event At Oakland Docks

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland police opened fire Monday morning with wooden dowels, "sting balls" and other non-lethal weapons at more than 500 hundred antiwar protesters.

The demonstrators were trying to block the entrances to the APL pier on the Oakland docks. They claim APL is carrying material to the war in Iraq.

Most of the demonstrators dispersed peacefully, but police used the weapons at two gates where protesters refused to move.

Six longshoremen standing near the protest and six demonstrators were hurt.

The protesters say it's the first time they've been fired on since demonstrations began several weeks ago in the San Francisco Bay area.

Police say at least 10 people were arrested.

Deputy Chief Patrick Haw says the officers fired because some demonstrators were throwing rocks and iron bolts at them.

Trent Willis, a business agent for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, says union workers will not be reporting Monday.

Several demonstrators were also arrested at protests at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, at the federal building in San Francisco and while trying to block an offramp from Interstate 280.

The protests come two weeks after demonstrations sparked hundreds of arrests and brought downtown San Francisco to a standstill.

3. KTVU video: http://www.ktvu.com/news/2094673/detail.html#

still: http://images.ibsys.com/2003/0407/2095726_200X150.jpg



http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/iraq/5578918.ht m

San Jose Mercury News

Protesters shot with wooden bullets at Port of Oakland By Dana Hull Mercury News

Protesters and dockworkers were hit with wooden bullets when Oakland police opened fire to clear an anti-war demonstration at the Port of Oakland this morning.

About 400 to 500 protesters tried to disrupt operations at two terminals of companies they say ship military cargo for the Department of Defense.

Most of the protesters dispersed, but when some refused, police began shooting wooden bullets into the crowd.

``I was marching in a circle when the police lowered their guns at us,'' said Oakland resident Scott Fleming, 29, a criminal defense attorney. ``I started to run and kept getting hit in the back.''

Fleming showed reporters five large welts on his back that he said was caused by the wooden dowels fired by police. Several dockworkers were also hit.

``I'm a lawyer and I'm seriously considering filing charges,'' Fleming said. ``They're supposed to shoot at our feet and they were shooting at our backs.''

Oakland Police said at least 24 people were arrested.

5. San Jose Mercury News slideshow: javascript:openWin('/mld/cctimes/slideshow.htm?content_id=5579343&pub_name=c ctimes&language=en&palette_name=blue_dark_standard_cool&site_name=bayarea&co mponent_title=&component_desc=');

Police get aggressive to deter Monday morning protesters CONTRA COSTA TIMES

OAKLAND - A couple of hours after the Oakland Police Department fired wooden bullets and beanbags into a crowd of protesters, Oakland City Council members were calling for hearings into the officers' conduct.

City Councilwoman Jane Brunner stood near an injured protester who had a bloody welt on his back that had swelled to the size of a softball. "It's pretty upsetting to see these big welts," said Brunner.

"We have to investigate this. According to the police chief, a protester threw a rock. My question is: Even if one or two people have been disruptive, do you go in like that with that kind of force in a demonstration?"

Police used wooden bullets, concussion grenades and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to block the entrance Monday to business that delivers military supplies to troops.

A few people were on the ground bleeding after being shot with the wooden bullets, which expand to the size of a knob on a dresser. As police herded some 500 protesters down a side road, people tried unsuccessfully to get into cars to go to the hospital.

Within a few minutes, at least one ambulance arrived.

One woman lay on the ground with two huge purple welts on her face from the wooden bullets, while another man was on the ground with his face bleeding.

Some protesters said they had been hit with tear gas canisters and bean bag bullets, as well.

The protesters were trying to block two gates of American President Lines, formerly known as APL, which is a Department of Defense contractor that delivers military cargo to troops at war.

The protesters claim police never issued any orders to disperse, but just began shooting wooden bullets and then herding the protesters onto the side road. About two dozen motorcycle officers pushed forward with officers on foot behind them shooting wooden bullets.

Around 8 a.m., police in riot gear and gas masks had backed one group of protesters to Seventh Avenue and Maritime Street right under the BART tracks where traffic was blocked and tensions were mounting. Big rig trucks were backing up in the streets and the sound of honking horns was broken up by the officers firing wooden bullets into the ground.

Police continue to drive protesters away from the Port of Oakland.

6. Utne Reader


Police Use Rubber Bullets Against Oakland Protesters —By Craig Cox -, Utne.com April 2003 Issue

Several anti-war protesters were reported injured this morning after police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse about 750 demonstrators who were blocking access to a shipping company’s offices.

The incident marks the first use of rubber bullets by police against anti-war protesters since the Bush administration’s March 19 invasion of Iraq, reports Reuters.

Activists were protesting in front of the headquarters of American President Lines, which they claim is profiting from the Iraq invasion. Oakland Police spokeswoman Danielle Ashford told Reuters the shots were fired after the crowd refused to disperse. “We gave our dispersal order, we gave them an order, we gave them plenty of time to disperse,” she said.

According to a Reuters photographer on the scene, police continued to fire on about 150 demonstrators who remained after the initial burst of shots. The status of the injured protesters, believed to be longshoremen, was not immediately known.

7. NBC

Antiwar Protesters Gather Throughout Bay Area

Demonstrations In San Francisco, Oakland, Concord

POSTED: 7:51 a.m. PDT April 7, 2003 UPDATED: 8:58 a.m. PDT April 7, 2003 SAN FRANCISCO -- Antiwar protesters are gathering in at least three locations in the Bay Area to continue demonstrating against the war in Iraq.

Activists have planned protests at the Federal Building in San Francisco, on the docks in Oakland and at the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

As of 8 a.m. a large group of protesters was reportedly blocking the entrance to the Port of Oakland on Maritime Street.

There are reports that police have used some tear gas -- but no arrests or injuries have been reported.

Several hundred police officers also are on hand.

At one point -- some 15 trucks carrying huge containers are waiting outside the gates for police to clear the way for them to enter.

The protests come barely two weeks after rowdy protests sparked hundreds of arrests and brought downtown San Francisco to a standstill.

San Francisco-based peace group Direct Action to Stop the War says the protests will feature acts of civil disobedience.

The Navy has closed most of the Concord Naval Weapons Station -- but protest organizers say trucks have been seen transporting material out of the facility since the war began.

During the Cold War, the weapons station was the scene of frequent protests. Demonstrators said nuclear weapons were stored there and often tried to block weapons trains.

In 1987 protester Brian Willson lost both legs after he lay down on the tracks and was run over by a train.


MSNBC - good injury photo: http://msnbc.com/news/1855360.jpg


9. Daily Californian


Anti-War Protesters Call For Focus on Domestic Issues

Includes photos of Berkeley protesters on the way to link up with Oakland protesters

10. Another Mercury News story

Hundreds protesting in Oakland, other demos planned Associated Press

Oakland --- Oakland police opened fire with non-lethal bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades as hundreds of anti-war protesters tried to block piers at the Oakland docks this morning.

Six longshoremen standing near demonstrators at the S-S-A pier were hit by rubber or wooden bullets and were injured. They were treated by paramedics at the scene, but at least one was being transported to a hospital.

Trent Willis is a business agent for the I-L-W-U. He was extremely angry and said his members would not be going to work today.

The longshoremen were standing on the side of the road and were not involved in the protest.

Some 500 anti-war protesters were moving from pier to pier starting early this morning. They began by barring the way to the AP-L pier. At one point -- some 15 trucks carrying huge containers were waiting outside the gates for police to clear the way for them to enter.

About 100 activists were protesting at the Federal Building in San Francisco and about 30 were at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. Several were arrested in Concord for blocking the entrance to the federal facility.

The protests come two weeks after demonstrations sparked hundreds of arrests and brought downtown San Francisco to a standstill.

11. Monday, April 7, 2003 AP Breaking News Police fire rubber bullets at anti-war protest at port in Oakland

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/04/07/ national1158EDT0617.DTL

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