Oakland says no to tougher policing

Oakland city council members voted against a resolution aimed at setting up tougher policing of Occupy protests in the city, specifically the port area.

The resolution would have prevented further protesters from carrying out demonstrations that would block roads like the group’s efforts to shut down Oakland’s Port last December. Specifically it would have allowed the police, mayor and city administrator to “use whatever lawful tools we have … to prevent future shutdowns or disruptions of any port operations.”

Although it specified port operations, the resolution would have required police to “enforce all local municipal code regulations and requirements” for all rallies and protests requiring a city permit.

The city council heard comments from dozens of rowdy Occupy Oakland supporters and, at one point, a screaming match ensued. Even as Councilwoman Kernighan was announcing she would vote no on the resolution, Occupy supporters shouted over her.

Oakland city council members seem to be tiring of the Occupy movement which has now cost the city $3 million in police overtime and other expenses. Oakland City Council Member Libby Schaaf said:

“To say that we’re frustrated by the Occupy Oakland protests is an understatement. While we absolutely support free speech and free assembly, we will not tolerate people shutting down our Port and harming our workers that depend on the Port for their wage.”

The resolution needed five votes for passage, but only got four as two council members abstained and two others voted against it. The council attempted to pass a similar measure in December of last year, but tabled the issue before they voted.

Opponents of the resolution said it could have violated the civil rights of protesters and occupied the city from more important issues. No pun intended.

The vote comes on the same day the hacker group, Anonymous, published personal information online of several Oakland city officials.