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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
Police email shows strategy, politics in run-up to Oscar Grant protests
Below is an email exchange between Oakland Police Captain David Downing, the head of OPD’s Support Operations Division, and OPD Officer Charles O’Connor. The May 8 communication is essentially a clarification for rules of engagement (ROE) for OPD officers preparing for the verdict in the trial of Johannes Mehserle. Former Mayor Ron Dellums and members of the city council had participated in previous demonstrations following Mehserle’s shooting of unarmed BART passenger Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day, 2009. In a telephone conversation earlier today, Capt. Downing said the participation of city officials had caused “operational difficulties.”
Also noted is the practice of confiscating video and photo equipment found on arrestees. Capt. Downing referred to this as standard practice for arrests because footage or pictures taken by suspects can be “fantastic evidence” if they happen to document someone committing a crime.
Downing did not comment on his remarks concerning Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley except for qualifying his words as “personal opinions, and certainly not those of the police department as a whole.” (Text after the jump.)
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From: O'Connor, Charles
Sent: Sat 5/8/2010 8:20 PM
To: Downing, David
Subject: Meserhle protest thoughts
Rules of Engagement:
We should come up with a set of ROE for unexpected events. Last year when city
council and/or the Mayor decided to lead the protests, it stumped the field
supervisors and quite frankly the ICS were second guessing themselves.
Also we need to reinforce the rules of engagement for field personnel when
dealing with the protester s organized support members, ie their photo and video
documentors (can we confiscate their video, cell phones or still cameras for crime
documentation) legal councilors&
I will be at the PAB on Tuesday at 3 pm working on other stuff waiting for a
community meeting to start should you need me to work on anything.