Occupy Oakland Mass ArrestPosted: January 31, 2012
This weekend hundreds of people in an Occupy Oakland protest were arrested while attempting to occupy a former convention center. Among those arrested were six reporters; one of which had credentials from the Oakland Police Department. Another journalist arrested in the Oakland mass arrest this weekend was Mother Jones’s Gavin Aronsen. Aronsen wrote a first hand account of his arrest as he reports from the Mother Jones website:
Oakland police thwarted the efforts, arresting more than 400 people in the process, primarily during a mass nighttime arrest outside a downtown YMCA. That number included at least six journalists, myself included, in direct violation of OPD media relations policy that states “media shall never be targeted for dispersal or enforcement action because of their status.”
Aronsen recounts several attempts to notify the police that he was merely a journalist. However, his struggle was in vein as it became clear that he was being caught in the 400 person net that the Oakland Police Department had cast around the crowd to catch and throw in jail. Occupiers and Aronsen alike told tales of police firing tear gas, beanbag and flash bang grenades in what appeared to be an over-reaction on their behalf. Certainley protesters and New York, Philly, Denver, and Los Angeles believed so as they rallied on Sunday night in support of those arrested in Oakland. Similar instances of police and occupiers tension resulted in Washington Square Park, yet on a smaller magnitude where 200 protested but only twelve were arrested.
The way police are depicted in news stories such as the one from Aronsen in Oakland portray them as a brute force that is going on unnecessary power trips. Is this the case? Or is this an example of the media only highlighting on the bad behavior of the police department and overlooking the occupiers’ actions to provoke such reactions by the police?