Knowing they would get into skirmishes with protesters, Oakland police officers have developed a system that makes them completely incognito.
First, they don riot gear from head to toe, including helmets with visors covering their faces, making themselves indistinguishable from one other – their only identifying features being name tags sewn to the outside of their uniforms.
But then they place black tape over their names, ensuring nobody would be able to identify them if they attack protesters.
In the above video, an activist with a camera confronts an Oakland police officer who had his name tag covered. The videographer beckons a Lt. Wong who orders the officer to remove the tape from his name tag.
The cop’s name was J. Hargraves.
Another videographer I’ve been following on Twitter, OakFoShow, who did a very well-narrated live stream of the standoff the other night, said he saw between 15 to 20 cops wearing tapes over their names. I was watching the livestream video when he was pointing this out, so he’s not exaggerating.
It’s probably understandable why they don’t want to be identified, considering how aggressive they have been during the last two weeks, sending two war veterans to the hospital. A bitter irony considering they each had served and survived multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan – only to get seriously injured by police in their own country.
The latest veteran to fall victim to police violence is Kayvan Sabehgi, 32, who is in intensive care with a lacerated spleen this week.
According to The Guardian in the United Kingdom:
On Wednesday night, police used teargas and non-lethal projectiles to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland.
Sabehgi told the Guardian from hospital he was walking alone along 14th Street in central Oakland – away from the main area of clashes – when he was injured.
“There was a group of police in front of me,” he told the Guardian from his hospital bed. “They told me to move, but I was like: ‘Move to where?’ There was nowhere to move.
“Then they lined up in front of me. I was talking to one of them, saying ‘Why are you doing this?’ when one moved forward and hit me in my arm and legs and back with his baton. Then three or four cops tackled me and arrested me.”
He began feeling an intense pain once they had taken him to jail.
He said: “My stomach was really hurting, and it got worse to the point where I couldn’t stand up.
“I was on my hands and knees and crawled over the cell door to call for help.”
A nurse was called and recommended Sabehgi take a suppository, but he said he “didn’t want to take it”.
He was allowed to “crawl” to another cell to use the toilet, but said it was clogged.
“I was vomiting and had diarrhoea,” Sabehgi said. “I just lay there in pain for hours.”
Sabehgi’s bail was posted in the mid-afternoon, but he said he was unable to leave his cell because of the pain. The cell door was closed, and he remained on the floor until 6pm, when an ambulance was called.
A week earlier, Iraq veteran Scott Olsen was shot in the head with a tear gas canister and was sent to the hospital with a fractured skull. He remains in the hospital but appears to be recovering.
Below is a video suggesting Oakland cops have a history of infiltrating activist groups in order to instigate them to do something criminal and make the movement lose credibility in the eyes of law-abiding, peaceful demonstrators.