Occupy Protesters Sue Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland
Occupy Oakland, Oct. 25 (Brian Sims)

Five protesters from the Occupy Oakland demonstrations asked a federal judge to order the city’s police to stop what the protesters call use of excessive force against demonstrators.

The five, with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and National Lawyers Guild have asked U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg for a restraining order and injunction to prevent further alleged constitutional rights violations.

Timothy Campbell, the lead plaintiff, says officers shot him in the leg with a lead-filled projectile while he was filming officers Nov. 2.

He and the others say the protests have been peaceful exercise of their First Amendment rights but on at least two prior occasions officers indiscriminately used explosive devices, rubber-cased bullets, nightsticks and other projectiles, which seriously injuring at least two demonstrators.

During one incident a protester, Scott Olsen, a U.S. Marine veteran, suffered a fractured skull and another had a ruptured spleen.

The suit alleges the actions are in direct violation of Oakland’s crowd control policy.

“As a result of this violence, plaintiffs fear that if they engage in peaceful expressive activity during future demonstrations they will be seriously injured, in violation of their First Amendment rights to assemble and protest and their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from excessive force,” concluded Alan Schlosser, ACLU attorney representing two of the five protesters.

Their complaint centers on the Oct. 25 pre-dawn rain by police on the Occupy Oakland encampment in which officers used tear gas and flash bang grenades to break up the protest.  In addition the suit alleges police destroyed tents and other personal property without giving occupiers an opportunity to disperse with their belongings.

Along with Campbell, the other named plaintiffs filing the suit include Kerie Campbell, Marcus Kryshka, Marc McKinnie, Michael Siegel and the ACLU.

According to the lawsuit, Kryshka is a National Lawyers Guild legal observer, McKinnie is a participant in the protests, Siegel says his ankle was injured when a projectile was fired and a flash-bang grenade detonated near his head.  Kerie Campbell is an Oakland resident and participant who would like to include her children but fears for their safety.

Scott Campbell said he was targeted by policy as a citizen journalist who was videotaping the police line.  When asked to move back he asked “Is this okay?” but was shot in the leg with a lead-shot-filled bag fired from a shotgun, the complaint states.

The suit was assigned to Judge Seeborg in San Francisco.

 Case:  Campbell v. City of Oakland,  No.  C11-5498RS

Photo by Brian Sims

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