Occupy Oakland protesters fight back with lawsuit

The first raid on Occupy Oakland left a mark on the Bay Area — not to mention the collective consciousness of the entire country — when the event made national headlines, even getting a shout-out from Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”

After America slowly turned off its TVs and got over the initial “glamour” of tear gas and police in riot gear, Occupy Oakland stayed in the spotlight here in the Bay. As any resident will tell you, it didn’t stop there.

Now, former Occupy protesters have filed suit against Oakland and the county of Alameda, seeking class-action status and stating that the arrests violated their civil rights.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, claims that 409 people, from protesters to media to legal observers, were unlawfully arrested during an incident on Jan. 28 of last year.

Police allegedly surrounded a group in front of the YMCA on Broadway during a demonstration without giving a dispersal order, then descended on the crowd, detaining some between 12 and 85 hours without charging them for a crime, the suit says:

Rather than cite and release, class members were incarcerated for long periods in overcrowded and inhumane conditions, including unheated or deliberately chilled cells, with limited seating, no sleeping facilities, sometimes standing room only, no toilet facilities, no feminine hygiene and no food, water or medical care.

This occurred just hours after protesters tried to take over an abandoned Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.

The suit has been filed by attorney Yolanda Huang and Dan Siegel, a former adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who was met with distaste for her actions during the initial Occupy Oakland raid.

It seeks unspecified damages and an order sealing and destroying the arrest records.

The multitude of defendants, including law enforcement officials affiliated with day’s incidents, have not yet responded in court.

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, a defendant in the case, told the Chron that he has been trying to take action against those who mistreated the protesters. This includes seeking to fire two officers, demote another and suspend 15 others.

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