Oakland police officers will all be trained to handle crowds in advance of a May Day protest today, says Chief Howard Jordan. Concern is mounting that police and protesters might come to blows, as they did Oct. 25 after officers evicted protesters from an encampment in front of City Hall. Internal police department reports from last fall’s protests show that factors like poor planning, understaffing, uneven officer training, and the use of mutual aid, as well as violent behavior by small groups of protesters, culminated in uses of force on entire crowds that violated policies and made protesters vulnerable to potential harm, reports the Bay Citizen.
Police officers from Oakland and other Bay Area agencies repeatedly used weapons that were illegal under Oakland’s policy. Mutual aid agencies are not required to adhere to Oakland’s policies on use of force, nor are they required to stop using weapons that the Oakland agency prohibits. The current policy prohibits the crowd-control use of various weapons, including Tasers, wooden dowels, and stingball grenades (which eject rubber pellets)