First, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan supported the Occupy Oakland activists, stating they had the First Amendment right to demonstrate.
Then she changed her mind and agreed the camp needed to be shut down.
And now – amidst widespread criticism of Tuesday night’s police rampage against the activists and plans for a general strike on November 2nd – she is on their side again.
Especially now that a U.S. Marine who served two tours in Iraq was critically injured by a tear gas canister.
According to a statement she gave to the San Francisco Chronicle (click on link to read entire statement):
We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.
Quan was in Washington D.C. when Oakland police and other local law enforcement agencies, turned the city’s downtown into a war zone, firing rubber bullets, bean bags, tear gas and flash grenades at protesters who refused to disperse.
Police said they were responding to activists who were throwing rocks and bottles at them and one activist admits this took place, even though no videos have surfaced showing the extent of it.
Quan, who under the city charter has full authority as a strong mayor, denies she played a role in organizing the police assault.
Here is a screenshot of their blunder.
Jordan took over as interim chief earlier this month when Chief Anthony Batts suddenly resigned two years into his three-year contract.
Batts, 50, said an “overwhelming load of bureaucracy” and a lack of officers and resources to fight Oakland’s severe crime problem contributed to his decision to leave a struggling department, which at the time he was hired had 796 officers, 150 more than it has now.
But sources close to the department say his tenuous relationship with Mayor Jean Quan and heat from a federal judge and police monitors — who have threatened a federal takeover of the department over its incomplete, decade-long effort to reform — also led to his decision.
In January 2009, it was Chief Wayne Tucker who suddenly announced his resignation under similar complaints.
Oakland’s police chief, facing criticism over chronic violent crime and turmoil in the department, resigned as city leaders prepared to call for a vote of no-confidence.
At a hastily scheduled news conference, Police Chief Wayne Tucker said Tuesday he has “lost faith” in the City Council and accused members of failing to provide enough funding to help fight crime for the 803 officers in the force.
Quan, who became the first female mayor in Oakland history in January 2011, is probably closer to the activists’ idealism than any of her predecessors, having participated in sit-ins and demonstrations during the 1960s before becoming a union organizer
As a city council member and mayoral candidate in 2010, she participated in protests against the manslaughter jury verdict of Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle over the killing of Oscar Grant.
So she doesn’t exactly have a history of supporting strong-armed tactics from police.
So perhaps she didn’t know that several police agencies were joining forces to unleash a fury of aggression against protesters – under the guidance of an interim police chief – while she hobnobbed in D.C. for federal funds.
But if that’s the case, then she is nothing but a ceremonial mayor.
And that’s the last thing Oakland needs at the moment.
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