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Oakland names outside panel to investigate Occupy violence

People hold photos of Scott Olsen, an Iraq veteran who was seriously injured during a standoff between Occupy Oakland protester
Oakland officials on Wednesday announced the team of outside investigators who will look into the use of force by police after they cleared the city’s Occupy encampment Oct. 25.

Mayor Jean Quan was in Washington, D.C., when the early-morning raid and evening protests took place. But she viewed videos of the events on her return, including one that showed Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen collapsing after he was hit in the head by a police projectile.

“For the most part, most of the police have acted professionally, and most of the demonstrators have been nonviolent, but there have been exceptions on both sides,” Quan said Wednesday during a City Hall news conference. “When I got back from Washington and saw all the videos, it was clear there were going to be allegations of misconduct and violence.”

Oakland in recent weeks launched its own internal investigations. But city officials had pledged to bring in an independent team to assess police actions -- and whether the city’s court-ordered crowd-control policies had been followed.

City Administrator Deanna Santana said that Thomas Frazier, a former police commissioner in Baltimore who also has advised Los Angeles and Detroit on implementing consent decrees, will lead the effort.

The team will include retired LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Hillman, retired San Jose Deputy Chief Don Anders and U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Richard Cashdollar, the former executive director of public safety for Mobile, Ala.

“The initiation of an independent investigation demonstrates that we have nothing to hide and that we are eager to learn,” Santana said. 

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-- Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco

Photo: People hold photos of Scott Olsen, an Iraq veteran who was seriously injured during a standoff between Occupy Oakland protesters and police, during a candlelight vigil in front of Oakland City Hall. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

 
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