Authorities beat and violated the rights of people arrested Saturday during Occupy Oakland demonstrations, supporters said Wednesday in front of City Hall, where four days earlier police armed with rubber bullets and tear gas clashed with protesters hurling projectiles and rocks.
The melee led to the largest mass arrest in Alameda County since an anti-nuclear demonstration in 1982.
None of the people who said they were injured over the weekend appeared Wednesday. But videos online showed police firing into the crowds and slugging protesters with batons. Several police officers were injured.
Some supporters who spoke Wednesday described chaos at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Officials there were caught off guard by the number of arrested protesters that flooded the facility beginning late Saturday.
Angel Castellon, a 19-year-old Oakland resident, said she was arrested in front of the YMCA, where police corralled protesters about 6 p.m. Saturday, and then taken to Santa Rita Jail about 1 a.m. Sunday. She sat on the sidewalk for seven hours in plastic handcuffs and was finally able to wiggle her hands free to relieve the discomfort of having her arms held behind her back. She said she was not booked until Monday morning and that deputies at the jail threatened to detain her longer after she demanded to know why she was being held so long after being cited.
Another man, Joshua Clover, 49, of Berkeley, said he was held at thejail until Sunday night -- more than 24 hours after being detained outside the YMCA -- without access to a liquid antacid to treat the pain from a perforated peptic ulcer -- until an attorney intervened.Advertisement
"(The deputies) were sitting there," Clover said. "Sometimes, they had coffee. Occasionally, they left their post to go to the bathroom."
But he and others at Santa Rita Jail over the weekend described seeing deputies throw people to the ground and deny others access to medication.
The staff at times either ignored requests for attention or said they couldn't provide medication because the protesters were not being booked into the general population, according to Clover, Castellon and others. Clover said sometimes Santa Rita Jail staff members simply chose not to process people for hours at a time.
Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson said the protesters had access to the care they needed, but agreed it took a long time to process people; 409 people were arrested Saturday.
Their rights to access attorneys and receive adequate medical attention, among other rights, were violated in many cases, Carey Lamprecht, of the National Lawyers Guild, said Tuesday. Most should have been cited and released on misdemeanor charges by Tuesday, she said.
Nelson said 110 were booked at North County Jail in Oakland and released within 12 hours.
Authorities decided to divert an additional 251 people to Santa Rita Jail because protesters surrounded North County Jail, Nelson said.
"It took a long time. No question about it," he said. "Was there anything unprofessional done? No."
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has filed 12 criminal charges. The city issued stay-away orders to others, which National Lawyers Guild attorneys said they will challenge.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
Occupy Oakland supporters claim authorities used excessive force and violated their rights - San Jose Mercury News