Note to the Oakland Police Union: You Could Probably Use the Protesters' Help:
You know, the Oakland cops could probably use the support of large numbers of protesters. At the end of 2010, Police Chief Anthony Batts said that "Oakland needs a minimum of 925 police officers. Starting next month, however, Oakland city officials say there is only enough money to pay for 637 positions, the lowest rank-and-file number since 1987, and the department is quickly reaching that level." This is not to mention "the department should have a minimum of 420 officers assigned to the patrol division," and it has only 350.
"I’ll be clear to you. I do not have enough police officers," Batts, who stepped down this year, said in December 2010. July 2010 had seen the layoff of 80 cops for budget reasons. The final budget numbers in 2011: "The police department will be budgeted for 636 officers this year and 588 next year." This July, in contract negotiations, the police union agreed that its members would pay 9% of their pensions in exchange for a promise for no more layoffs until 2015.
The cops went all apeshit on the Occupy Oakland protesters, who were not nearly as organized as Occupy Wall Street. Still, even if there were rats and sanitation problems, it sure seems like the cops went in with the intent to kick some ass and were baiting the exhausted and "paranoid" occupiers with an absurdly massive show of force in the middle of the night. You watch the videos of the raid on Ogawa Plaza, and you want to say, "Umm, you realize that these are unarmed civilians most of whom committed the crime of trespassing, right? No? You're just gonna go all stormtrooper on their hippie asses?" The action passed "overkill" at the point that the first tear gas canister hit the air.
In other words, working with cops from other areas, the Oakland PD committed a large amount of its minimal force to execute an eviction notice. It must have been a good night to be a drug dealer or thief or murderer in Oakland.
Quick note to a scattered few protesters: Don't throw shit at the cops. Don't give 'em an excuse to gas you. Non-violence works only if you actually don't get violent. You wanna win the revolution? Get the police on your side. The rank and file actually want a reason to support you.