Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's Statement Last Night

Jean Quan’s complete statement reads as follows:
We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.

I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.

99% of our officers stayed professional during difficult and dangerous circumstances as did some of the demonstrators who dissuaded other protestors from vandalizing downtown and for helping to keep the demonstrations peaceful. For the most part, demonstrations over the past two weeks have been peaceful. We hope they continue to be so.

I want to express our deepest concern for all of those who were injured last night, and we are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Investigations of certain incidents are underway and I will personally monitor them.

We understand and recognize the impact this event has had on the community and acknowledge what has happened. We cannot change the past, but we are committed to doing better.

Most of us are part of the 99%, and understand the spirit of
the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We are committed to honoring their free speech right.

Finally, we understand the demonstrators want to meet with me and Chief Jordan. We welcome open dialogue with representatives of Occupy Wall Street members, and we are willing to meet with them as soon as possible.
Clearly this statement reflects awareness of the international outrage over the surreal violence of the Oakland police, and given the historical context in which this violence took place one can scarcely know how long this resolve to minimize the disruptive and threatening police presence will last or how diligent will be the promised "inquiries" into police brutality and misconduct. The Occupiers aren't calling the reclaimed Oscar Grant Plaza by that name for kicks, you know. The framing of the Oakland police as "99% professional" seems at once, to say the least, inaccurate and too cute by half. Still, the Mayor's tone of absolute contrition and support for the Occupiers was the appropriate one, and I understand that so far the police specter has indeed not re-appeared and that the Occupation is still strong and absolutely undaunted.

No comments: