Criminal probe of Occupy cops reopened


A criminal investigation into police use of force against Occupy protesters last October — including the severe injury of protester and former Marine Scott Olsen — has been reopened, according to a detailed new report about the incident released on Thursday.

The report says Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan — at the urging of the report’s authors, led by former Baltimore Police Commissioner Tom Frazier — has reopened the investigation into violent actions by Oakland police officers the night of October 25, 2011.

According to the report, actions by some OPD members provided “reasonable suspicion” that an officer-involved criminal act may have occurred, not only on October 25, but at later confrontations as well:

“On October 25, 2011 (and in subsequent Occupy Oakland events), actions by some OPD members provided reasonable suspicion that an officer-involved criminal act may have occurred.”

Among the report’s key findings, however, is an assertion that OPD itself is incapable of conducting such an investigation:

“During the interviews and review of video footage it became apparent that the OPD investigations … required the services of experienced, unbiased investigators not available to OPD. Both internal criminal and administrative investigations should be monitored or conducted by an outside entity.”

When you’re as respected as Tom Frazier, you can add the word “Group” to your last name, form a company, and run around charging cities $100,000 to investigate messes left behind by sloppy, understaffed and poorly-trained police forces.

Most of the 114-page report from The Frazier Group LLC is too immersed in the intricacies of police procedure to be compelling general reading. Its far-reaching list of 68 recommendations, though, represents an embarrassingly thorough indictment of OPD, its personnel and its crowd control procedures.

Though the report doesn’t name names, certain unnamed OPD and civilian personnel appear to have played key roles in an overall diminished command and control system so key to modern, non-excessively violent policing.

You know, the kind in cities other than Oakland.

The offices of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Howard Jordan did not respond to multiple requests from SFBay for confirmation and comment concerning this story.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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