National Lawyers Guild
Progressive Jewish Alliance
Lawsuit against Oakland Police Department
November 14, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Oakland Police Department (OPD) for its egregious constitutional violations against Occupy Oakland demonstrators. The lawsuit asks for an emergency temporary restraining order to stop police violence against political protesters. The restraining order is urgent because another police encounter with demonstrators is imminent, after the removal of the Occupy Oakland camp early this morning. The case is currently before United States District Court Judge Richard Seeborg, who immediately issued an order requiring the City to respond by 5pm tomorrow. If OPD uses excessive force against protesters again, it will need to justify its actions to the court.
The ACLU-NC and the NLG are suing OPD on behalf of Timothy Scott Campbell, a videographer who was shot with a bean bag projectile while filming police presence during Occupy Oakland on the night of November 2-3, 2011, and other demonstrators subjected to excessive force during recent demonstrations. Additional plaintiffs include Kerie Campbell, Mike Siegel, and NLG Legal Observer Marcus Kryshka.
"I was filming police activity at Occupy Oakland because police should be accountable," said Campbell. "Now I'm worried about my safety from police violence and about retaliation because I've been outspoken."
"Excessive police force is never acceptable, especially when it's in response to political protest," said Linda Lye, staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California.
"OPD's unconstitutional actions against protestors on those two nights were wholesale and flagrant violations of Oakland's own Crowd Control Policy," said Rachel Lederman, an NLG attorney.
On October 26, 2011 The ACLU-NC and NLG sent a public records request seeking information about OPD's use of force against Occupy demonstrators. OPD refused to hand over information about its actions.
The lawsuit, Timothy Scott Campbell, et al, vs. City of Oakland and Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Attorneys for the plaintiffs are: Alan Schlosser, Michael Risher and Linda Lye for the ACLU Foundation of Northern California; Rachel Lederman, Carol Sobel, Bobbie Stein and R. Michael Flynn for the National Lawyers Guild; and James B. Chanin and Julie M. Houk from the Law Offices of James B. Chanin.