Monday, November 7, 2011

Shot while holding a peace sign

Even "experts" on police brutality are shocked.
"It looks terrible," agreed Sam Walker, a professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, who consulted with Oakland police on the federal consent decree emerging from the Riders scandal. "It certainly looks like they singled him out to be shot ... and there does not appear to have been any sort of attack by the protester. Clearly, the camera is not approaching the officers, so they couldn't claim that he posed a threat."

Paul Chevigny, professor emeritus at the New York University School of Law, said it looks like "a violation of his First Amendment rights apart from being a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. He has a right to take a film of what the police do -- we've been over this thousands of times -- unless he's interfering in some way.

"The basic problem of police retaliating against people who are trying to record what's going on is perennial," said Chevigny, adding this occurs all over the nation. "They (officers) consider it a kind of 'contempt of cop.' It's an expression of the fact that people do not trust the police. The police read it as a criticism of them. It's not even necessarily that they're trying to prevent people from seeing what they're doing.

"But this extreme version (of retaliation) is very unfamiliar to me," he added. "I can't imagine what they're going to say about shooting this guy. Sounds like the Oakland police need a little brush-up on their training."

There have been other allegations of excessive force against Occupy Oakland participants. Best known is the case of Scott Olsen, 24, an ex-Marine and Iraq War veteran struck in the head by what witnesses said was a police projectile Oct. 25. He suffered a fractured skull but is expected to recover.

Another veteran, Kayvan Sabeghi, 32, of Oakland, claims officers beat him with batons and tackled him early Thursday, then denied him medical care for hours. He underwent surgery Friday to repair a lacerated spleen.
-Inside Bay Area