No Martial Law in Oakland!
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MARTIAL LAW IN OAKLAND?
On Thursday, July 23 at 11:00 am, the Oakland City Council will vote on a measure for the November ballot that is intended to strengthen civilian oversight of the Oakland Police Department.
BUT—the draft contains a “poison pill.” It would allow the City Council to write a blank check to the police to make its own rules for “exigent circumstances” for “public safety.”
“Exigent circumstances” could mean almost anything. Large protests, certainly, but much more than that. Any police use of force could be justified as a reaction to an ‘exigent’ circumstance, which would normally be prohibited.
According to this language, during “exigent circumstances” the police could, for up to seven days, disregard the civilian Police Commission and all existing policies for use of force or crowd control. Tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, choke holds would be permissible — if the police chief wants to order them to “quell” protests or other “exigent circumstances for up to 14 days.. Any harm police officers impose on anyone under the police chief’s orders could not be punished.
This language was not in any previous draft and is a potentially dramatic expansion of police power that has never before been considered in Oakland. Why is it necessary now?
We demand that the “exigent circumstances” clause in subparagraph (b)5 of the Measure LL clean up draft be deleted by the City Council, before the measure is sent to the ballot.
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