By: Nishat Kurwa
Oakland's acting police chief Howard Jordan denied that his department used rubber bullets and wooden dowels on protesters during demonstrations Tuesday night against the eviction of the Occupy Oakland encampment.
At a recent press conference, Jordan said that it's possible that other police departments assisting Oakland on Tuesday used those weapons, inflicting injuries that protesters say were caused by rubber bullets. But he said he hasn't seen any of the footage of those injuries, is "not a medical professional," and therefore couldn't speak with authority about the claims. Jordan also denied that Oakland police used flash bang grenades, saying that they are usually used in buildings.
Jordan also addressed the issue of the critically injured Iraq vet who reportedly suffered a fractured skull when police allegedly lobbed a tear gas canister into the crowd. Video of a bloodied and confused man, reported to be Scott Olsen, was widely shared online, and Jordan confirmed that it has launched the sort of investigation merited by a "Level One Incident," in which an officer uses lethal force. Jordan said it's still unclear whether an assisting agency or an Oakland Police Department officer was responsible for that injury, and that his department asked other agencies to "document their use of force."
For her part, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan seemed flustered at times when responding to reporters' questions about exactly what her role was in the eviction action. She mentioned repeatedly that she was in Washington D.C. "when the decision was made" to evict the camp, and that she was updated by phone. Quan said that she had asked that the eviction happen at a time when the encampment wasn't too crowded to reduce the likelihood of confrontation.
In one of the press conference's few lively moments, a reporter from the Occupy Citizen Press asked Jordan about the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), or sound cannon, which was rumored to have been used against protesters. Acting Chief Jordan said that although the department is in possession of an LRAD, it was not used against protesters Tuesday. The reporter shot back, "Why do you have them?," to which Acting Chief Jordan responded that it was in case it was ever needed. Most reporters who raised their hands were not called upon, and the press conference ended hastily even after some reporters shouted out their questions.
Jordan said that assisting agencies would not be in place on Wednesday night. Protesters were then gathering outside of City Hall during the press conference, for a scheduled 6 p.m. assembly.
Originally published on Turnstylenews.com, a digital information service surfacing emerging stories in news, entertainment, art and culture; powered by award-winning journalists.