January 13, 2012, Oakland – Occupy Oakland’s Media Committee has uncovered images and videos that reveal many police hiding their name badges while on duty during Occupy Oakland raids. Officers covering name badges was not an isolated incident, but widespread. In some cases, departmental affiliations were also not visible (video and image links below). State law requires on-duty, uniformed police officers to display name badges.
On January 9, Judge Thelton Henderson slammed the Oakland Police Department for their failure to get rank and file officers to follow procedure–or to follow California law. Two officers were disciplined based on evidence from a citizen journalist’s video. Officer John Hargraves, who concealed his name, was given a 30 day suspension. His superior officer, Lt. Clifford Wong, was demoted for failing to report the incident to Internal Affairs.
Media Committee member wiseoldsnail captured videos on October 25 and November 20 of Pleasanton and OPD officers covering up their identity badges while on duty carrying out orders at Frank Ogawa Plaza, which the protesters have renamed Oscar Grant Plaza. Others have also noticed the trend toward officers concealing their identities. “It surprises me that officers from different agencies don’t seem to know that they are required to show identification at all times. It’s bad enough when identified officers offer up beatings and unlawful detention. The violations of our constitutional rights are compounded when officers choose to operate in secrecy,” said Stephanie Demos, who has experienced numerous violations of her civil rights, including violence and unlawful detention by police, during her peaceful activities supporting the Oakland Commune and documenting Occupy Oakland activities.
“The officers tear gassed me and about 100 other protesters on November 2, without warning that chemical agents would be used, violating Oakland’s use of force policy. All of their name tags were hidden,” said Occupy Oakland Media Committee member Adam Katz, who filed a claim with OPD Internal Affairs on November 3. In the internal affairs claim, Katz included a photo of the officers.
News of court action and disciplinary measures against officers who covered their name badges at Occupy Oakland raids comes on the heels of protests against police repression in recent weeks. The main focus of these protests has been arrests and police brutality targeting Occupy Oakland “regulars” who were participating in a 24 hour Occupy Oakland vigil at Oscar Grant Plaza.
Videos of Police Refusing to be Identified:
wiseoldsnail: Video – showing OPD officer Cross refusing to identify herself, until her superior advises her to do so (Nov 20):
Spencer Mills @OakFoSho: Video – showing officers with no name badges (Nov 14):
wiseoldsnail: Video – showing officer refusing to identify himself (Oct 25):
Occupy Oakland is an emerging social movement without leaders or spokespersons. It is in solidarity with occupations currently occurring around the world in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Oakland Media is a committee of Occupy Oakland, established by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly.