Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan is seeking to fire two officers, demote a third, and suspend 15 others for their treatment of Occupy Oakland protesters, whose clashes with police drew worldwide attention, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Jordan said one of his officers fired a beanbag that critically injured Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen on Oct. 25, which galvanized the Occupy movement. Olsen was one of more than 1,000 people who rallied after police cleared an encampment outside City Hall.
The internal investigations play a key role in the department’s efforts to show it can police its own officers, the central issue in a pending court battle over whether the force will be placed under federal control. Jordan said the investigations, which are not complete, as well as the department’s evolution in crowd-control tactics during the past year, demonstrate it is capable of reform. Occupy activists said they were pleasantly surprised by the possible discipline of officers. The potential sanctions were met with anger by the president of the police union, who said desperate city leaders are using rank-and-file officers as scapegoats.