Move-in Day

by zunguzungu

On Saturday, Occupy Oakland plans to “take over a vacant building in the city of Oakland to establish a new home, social center and meeting space for the movement”:

You can read about Occupy Oakland Move-in Day here. The press conference will be at 10:00 a.m. PST and will be live-streamed here, I believe (about an hour from now, when I am); I’ll post a link to any video I find (EDIT: here’s the move-in committee’s open letter to the Mayor) .

Building occupations are becoming more common in the occupy movement, but — unless I’m mistaken — this is the first one that has been heavily publicized in advance of the action itself (albeit with the exception of the location). And while this is an effort to mobilize supporters to defend the action, a way to counteract the force that police have shown themselves willing and able to use against protesters and occupiers, it seems reasonable to expect that the Oakland Police Department will be out in force on Saturday, once the location of the building to be occupied is announced. Somehow I expect that duty rotations have been organized with this weekend in mind.

I have no idea how it will play out, but with all that in mind, this announcement (see also here) seems remarkably timed; OPD has been under federal scrutiny for years now, ever since running completely wild in 2003, and the threat of a federal government take-over of the department suddenly looms:

Frustrated and “in disbelief” by what he called the slow pace of reform, a federal judge on Tuesday ordered Oakland’s top cop to notify an expert overseeing the Police Department about anything that could affect a federal consent decree, including promoting or disciplining officers and changing policies or tactics.

In ordering interim Police Chief Howard Jordan to “regularly consult” with independent monitor Robert Warshaw, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson acknowledged that he was giving considerably more responsibility to Warshaw…

Jim Chanin, an attorney for the civil plaintiffs in the Riders case, said the judge’s order represents “a major sea change from before. Before it was just an option, and now it’s a court order. Every major decision that the chief makes, he has to consult with the monitor. This is radically different.”

You can read the monitor’s quarterly report here, if you like. It’s not a good time for them to be under increased scrutiny, to say the least. Or is it? Oakland city government may well welcome having law enforcement taken off their hands.