occupy

Oakland Police Call Out Mayor Jean Quan in Open Letter: ‘We Are the 99%’

Nov 2, 2011

Oakland Police remind protesters they, too, are the 99% and call for Oakland elected officials to “make sound decisions and take responsibility for these decisions.”

occupy Oakland Police Call Out Mayor Jean Quan in Open Letter: We Are the 99%

The Oakland Police Officer’s Associations has written in an open letter “We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families.”

Quite true. None would deny the reality of their social and economic class—that they are firmly part of Occupy despite their actions. It’s very much a case of (pardon the appropriation of a New Testament verse) forgive them for they know not what they do. Except, of course, they do know what they do.

As they note, they are put in the unenviable and contradictory position of acting as storm troopers for the establishment. It is, as they say, their job. That is, to protect and serve. However, creating a war zone is not an act of protection or community service.

However, short of striking—which would precipitate an Oakland crime spree, most assuredly—issuing an open letter to the citizens of Oakland, as well as calling out the Mayor and city officials, is one of their only available tactics.

The final paragraph of the letter reads, “We love Oakland and just want to do our jobs to protect Oakland residents. We respectfully ask the citizens of Oakland to join us in demanding that our City officials, including Mayor Quan, make sound decisions and take responsibility for these decisions. Oakland is struggling – we need real leaders NOW who will step up and lead – not send mixed messages. Thank you for listening.”

It’s refreshing to see a police force call out its mayor and city government, but let’s not forget that there is a right way and a wrong way in dealing with citizens and, more specifically, with protesters; and that dressing in riot gear is self-fulfilling prophecy in action.

Occupy Oakland is not encamped to threaten Oakland citizens but to protest economic inequality, amongst other things.  If Oakland Police are truly the 99%, then they should serve the people, the protesters, and not Mayor Quan and Oakland’s government. And the first step is to apologize for the events of October 25th.

But give Oakland PD credit for having the self-awareness to realize they were used as a weapon by the state against people who are working for a better world.

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