Lawsuit settlement forces police to negotiate on riot control
Under a lawsuit settlement reached earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union now must be consulted before Oakland, Calif., police can alter their crowd control policies.
The agreement now may be called into question following WND’s exclusive report yesterday that revealed the ACLU is a full partner of the main group that has been agitating the protest movement surrounding the Trayvon Martin case.
Commentators have been perplexed at how Martin protest crowds last Sunday were reportedly able to control Oakland streets for more than three hours, terrorizing drivers and attacking reporters without police interference.
KGO-TV in San Francisco reported that on Sunday, following the George Zimmerman verdict, “for more than three hours, protesters had complete control of 14th and Broadway near Oakland City Hall, preventing any cars from getting through.”
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The report said that at about 8:30 p.m., police opened the intersection to traffic, but the situation “quickly deteriorated when demonstrators surrounded frightened drivers who found themselves trapped. The crowd forced them to turn around.”
“Oakland police officers that had been near the corner retreated, leaving the helpless drivers without police protection. It’s unclear who gave that command.”
KGO documented reporters were attacked by protesters, including a journalist from a partner media group.
“A reporter with our media partner the Bay Area News Group tweeted that she and her photographer were attacked by the crowd. She also tweeted that demonstrators attacked a TV cameraman,” reported KGO.
The police reluctance to stop the violent crowds came 11 days after the city of Oakland agreed to pay approximately $1 million to end a lawsuit filed on behalf of 150 Occupy demonstrators alleging police misconduct during a 2010 mass arrest.
The class-action lawsuit was filed by the radical National Lawyers Guild in coordination with the ACLU.
The Los Angeles Times reported that as part of the settlement, the Oakland Police Department agreed to negotiate future changes to its crowd control policy with the ACLU and National Lawyers Guild.
The settlement also places U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson in charge of ensuring implementation of the agreement for the next seven years.
The ACLU’s involvement in brokering Oakland police crown control policies may now be considered controversial after WND’s report yesterday detailing the legal advocacy group is partnered with Dream Defenders, the main group leading the Trayvon Martin protests in Florida.
Dream Defenders has been agitating Martin protests since the onset and has been credited with successfully advocating for Zimmerman’s arrest.
The group was behind the protests that blockaded the Sanford Police Department, demanding the police chief be fired for failing to bring charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder Saturday.
The small Community Relations Service at Eric Holder’s Justice Department facilitated a meeting between Dream Defenders and city officials that resulted in a Justice review of the police department.
Sanford police chief Bill Lee ultimately was fired. Lee has claimed he was dismissed for not arresting Zimmerman.
Dream Defenders further led protests and marches demanding Zimmerman’s arrest. Just prior to Zimmerman’s arrest in April 2012, the Justice Department reportedly phoned Dream Defenders to inform the group that Zimmerman was to be arrested within 48 hours.
The group is now organizing protests in the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal. On Tuesday, Dream Defenders demonstrated outside the Seminole County Capitol building and other locations.
Dream Defenders bills itself as a nonviolent sustainable network of youth and student leaders fighting for social change. The group says it trains youth and students in civil disobedience, direct action and civic engagement.
The group is made up of students and recent graduates from several Florida universities and is openly backed by SEIU, the ACLU and the Soros-supported Southern Poverty Law Center.