If her public Facebook page is an indication, the public is heaping plenty of blame on Oakland Mayor Jean Quan for the heavy-handed police response to Occupy Oakland protesters last night. More than 4,000 people have made negative comments on her post that commends recent police actions. Her statement reads, ”I commend Chief Jordan for a generally peaceful resolution to a situation that deteriorated and concerned our community.” The response on Facebook ranged from online shouts of “Shame!”, to posting the First Amendment, to directly calling her fascist. Others express the belief that the excessive police force of over 500 riot police will only embolden and expand protests and chaos in the city. Rob Vein posts, “Your decisions will only gain momentum for the occupy movement and the occupiers of your city will only re-establish a base twice its size. And any actions taken will in turn only double the size again and so on.”
It’s time for the mayor, who was on a trip to D.C. seeking federal funding, to speak directly to her constituency about the escalating conflict. In fact, this will be a political necessity as recall efforts announced last week gain steam. Oakland police have a history of officer-involved shootings and Jean Quan played a key role as a council member negotiating between police and protesters after the killing of unarmed Bart passenger Oscar Grant in 2009.
The Oakland Police Department said in a statement that it used tear gas in defense after protesters threw objects at officers and, contrary to some reports, did not use rubber bullets or flash-bag grenades.
Originally part of a national movement to demand accountability from Wall Street, Occupy Oakland has evolved into a referendum on Mayor Jean Quan and a protest against the misdeeds of the Oakland Police Department past and present.
On Monday, www.sfgate.com reported that a recall petition was in the works. Leaders of that effort cited the city’s police shortage as their main complaint.
Come on Jean get your city in order!!