Occupy Oakland: More than 100 arrested; police defend tactics
The scene finally cleared after midnight Wednesday, but police were on alert in case crowds returned.
Oakland's interim police chief, Howard Jordan, said arrests were continuing and that the total number might rise. Eight-five of those arrests were made Tuesday night, when officers raided the Occupy Oakland encampment on Frank Ogawa Plaza at City Hall, along with an annex in a park near Lake Merritt.
Jordan justified his department's use of tear gas.
"We were in a position where we had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks," he said.
Two officers were injured in the clashes, Jordan said. He said he did not know how many demonstrators may have been hurt.
In an interview with KTVU-TV Channel 2, Officer David Carman said he had been hit by paintballs and more.
"The crowd started throwing bottles, paints, beer, eggs at myself and the other officers," he said.
But some activists criticized the police tactics.
Kat Brooks, an Occupy Oakland activist and spokeswoman, said she took her young daughter home about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday because she did not want to expose her to the tear gas flooding downtown Oakland.
Protesters had marched from the plaza to Snow Park, a swatch of green near Lake Merritt, where an annex encampment was also torn down by police Wednesday morning. They had returned to City Hall when the confrontation began.
"We weren’t there but a minute before they started giving the dispersal order," Brooks said Tuesday night. "The first time they said five minutes, this time they said 'now.' They shot off the flash grenades and people scattered."
"This is the most disciplined I've ever seen Oakland be. There was no damage to property," she said.
At one point, Brooks said, several officers were hit with paintballs, but she said they had come out swinging batons.
"From the way they came into the camp [Tuesday] morning to the way they acted tonight, they have gone beyond what was necessary," she said.
-- Lee Romney in Oakland and Robert J. Lopez
Photo: People flee after tear gas is fired in Oakland. Credit: Associated Press