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Queers and Feminists Condemn Recent “Hate Crime” Arrests and Reject OPD Charges
Oakland Occupy Patriarchy, A Working Group of Occupy Oakland Feminists & Queers, Responds to Recent Arrests for Alleged Hate Speech Regarding Perceived Sexuality
Oakland, CA – March 5, 2012 – Last week, three of our comrades from Occupy Oakland were charged with robbery and “hate crimes” against someone for allegedly making hateful remarks about her (perceived) sexuality. Our perspective is this: police frequently lie, and we have no reason to believe them now.
We have worked with and alongside these three people with solidarity and love for months. These are people we’ve cooked, cleaned, cracked jokes with, and danced with, at Occupy Oakland encampment, and at countless events. We will be at their court dates and ready with warm food when they are released. On the other hand, we have experienced nothing but brutality from OPD. We have been terrorized, assaulted, condescended to, verbally abused, and called gendered and homophobic slurs by officers in the Oakland Police Department and deputies in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
We want to make something unquestionably clear: The exclusive role of the police is to serve and protect the interests of the ruling class. Some may not like to use the words we identify ourselves with, but we use them here intentionally. The police and the state do not care about us women, fags, dykes, trans people and queer people, unless one of us also happens to be rich and powerful. Or, unless giving the perception of protecting us helps to justify their racist, patriarchal attacks on poor people, as they did on Friday, March 2nd in their press release.
We have seen the city and the police department lie on a regular basis in order to throw occupiers in jail, particularly homeless people and people of color. While we in Oakland Occupy Patriarchy challenge misogyny and gendered violence, the OPD appropriates the language of our struggles to serve its own purposes.
If someone hurts us because of our gender, race, or sexuality, that is something for us to handle ourselves, whether it means mediation, accountability, reparations, violent retaliation, or exclusion — that is for us to work out together, without the police. In order to do that, we need to break down the barriers that the police and the capitalists are so interested in building between us, so that we can start learning how to work together. It is something we began in the Oakland Commune before the City of Oakland cracked down on our collective projects.
The OPD writes, “The Oakland Police Department prioritizes hate crimes for immediate investigation.” Their claim that they care about “hate crimes” is a manipulation of our identities as women and queers in order to justify state violence that we absolutely oppose.
March 5, 2012
Contacts: John Viola
WHAT: THREE OCCUPY OAKLAND ACTIVISTS WRONGFULLY ACCUSED OF FELONY CHARGES TO BE ARRAIGNED TODAY.
Following the arraignments friends and family will speak out with their legal team.
WHEN: MONDAY, March 5, 2012 – 3:00 p.m. (following arraignment).
WHERE: Wiley Manuel Courthouse- 661 Washington Street, Oakland CA Department 112 (We will gather outside the courtroom doors).
Three Occupy Oakland activists arrested and wrongfully accused of felony robbery and hate crimes will be arraigned in Department 112 at Wiley Manuel Court in Oakland today at 2:00 p.m. Following their arraignments, friends, family, and their legal team will speak out.
“According to the reports that we have, the complainant was an active participant in the alleged altercation and use of derogatory speech. This minor alleged incident would be far better resolved through mediation and a community based process than through prosecution,” said attorney Yolanda Huang.
“These charges are part of a blatant effort by the Oakland Police Department to discredit and intimidate activists, and draw attention away from its own misconduct. Regrettably, officials have exaggerated this incident as a pretext for cracking down on the young social movement. The resources of the District Attorney’s office would be far better spent prosecuting cases against the still unaccountable people and corporations that looted our economy,” said National Lawyer Guild attorney John Viola.
News from: Oakland Police Department
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2012
Three Occupy Oakland Protesters Arrested and Charged with Robbery and Hate Crimes
Oakland, CA – On March 2, 2012, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged three Occupy Oakland protesters with felony counts of robbery and hate crimes.
On February 22, 2012, at 6:00 p.m., the Oakland Police Department contacted a female victim after responding to a report of a robbery in the 4000 block of Piedmont Avenue. The victim told officers she had been walking down the street, across from the Wells Fargo bank, near a small group of Occupy Oakland protesters calling for a riot. The victim, who has been a resident of the area for over 20 years, suggested to the protesters not to riot in her neighborhood.
She was surrounded by three protestors and battered as they yelled vulgar epithets regarding their perception of her sexual orientation. Her wallet was taken during the crime. The victim broke away from the group, and called police who were able to arrest one suspect near the scene.
The Oakland Police Department prioritizes hate crimes for immediate investigation. A suspect who commits a hate crime aims not only to terrify or harm one individual, but to threaten and terrorize the entire actual or perceived group of people to which the victim may belong.
The two additional suspects were located and arrested at a February 29th Occupy protest following investigation by the OPD Major Crimes Section.
This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Major Crimes Section at (510) 238-XXXX.
Suspect-1, M.D., White male, 1979
Suspect-2 , N.C., African American female, 1988
Suspect-3, R.W, African American male, 1987
For more information, please contact the Media Relations Office at 510.238.XXXX or opdmedia [at] fuckOPD.com.
An Oakland Police Department Hate Crime Information Pamphlet with community resource information has not been taken seriously by the racist suburban officers of the Oakland Police Department.