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Oakland: This Is What a Police State Looks Like

Oakland Police in Riot Gear, 10.25.2011. (Added by Editor - Photo: Oakland Local, aka EKAPhotography on flickr)

Oakland Police in Riot Gear, 10.25.2011. (photo: Oakland Local)

I’ve gotta hand it to you, Mayor Quan, you wasted no time. As soon as you realized, to your horror, that Oakland’s city hall was located in downtown Oakland (public urination, incidents of violence, people without homes sleeping out of doors), you launched right into redecorating. By the way, love what you’ve done with the Darth Vader look.

My husband and I went to Oakland to attend the rally on Tuesday. We were walking back to our car at 5:30. As we rounded a corner, there they were, the Oakland police in riot gear, standing shoulder to shoulder behind a barricade, completely blocking the street between us and our car.

And when I say riot gear, I mean head-to-toe: black helmets, body armor, face shields down, and assuming a stance that those training manuals probably refer to as combat-ready. Each officer stood with feet braced wide apart and his baton in both hands.

I know that some of you who are reading this will ask, why didn’t you get a photo? I will tell you why. The camera was in my backpack. The first thought that ran through my mind was keep both hands visible. If they see you reaching into a backpack, they won’t know you’re reaching for a camera. All hell will break loose.

And the street on our side of the barricade was empty. We had walked in the opposite direction of the demonstration as they left the rally and headed toward city hall. And we stood for a moment just looking. We could feel the adrenaline pumping from across the street. I was carrying a picket sign. Someone at the rally had handed me a Nurses United picket sign. It said something very inflammatory and anti-American, like an economy that works for 99% of the people. [cont’d.]

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Oakland: This is what a police state looks like

Oakland Police in Riot Gear, 10.25.2011. (Added by Editor - Photo: Oakland Local, aka EKAPhotography on flickr)

Oakland Police in Riot Gear, 10.25.2011. (Added by Editor - Photo: Oakland Local, aka EKAPhotography under share agreement, on flickr)

I’ve gotta hand it to you, Mayor Quan, you wasted no time. As soon as you realized, to your horror, that Oakland’s city hall was located in downtown Oakland (public urination, incidents of violence, people without homes sleeping out of doors), you launched right into redecorating. By the way, love what you’ve done with the Darth Vader look.

My husband and I went to Oakland to attend the rally on Tuesday. We were walking back to our car at 5:30. As we rounded a corner, there they were, the Oakland police in riot gear, standing shoulder to shoulder behind a barricade, completely blocking the street between us and our car.

And when I say riot gear, I mean head-to-toe: black helmets, body armor, face shields down, and assuming a stance that those training manuals probably refer to as combat-ready. Each officer stood with feet braced wide apart and his baton in both hands.

I know that some of you who are reading this will ask, why didn’t you get a photo? I will tell you why. The camera was in my backpack. The first thought that ran through my mind was keep both hands visible. If they see you reaching into a backpack, they won’t know you’re reaching for a camera. All hell will break loose.

And the street on our side of the barricade was empty. We had walked in the opposite direction of the demonstration as they left the rally and headed toward city hall. And we stood for a moment just looking. We could feel the adrenaline pumping from across the street. I was carrying a picket sign. Someone at the rally had handed me a Nurses United picket sign. It said something very inflammatory and anti-American, like an economy that works for 99% of the people. (more…)

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