After police in Oakland, Calif. used extreme force to break up the Occupy Oakland protesters this week -- reportedly using tear gas and bean bag munitions to force the picketers out of the city's Frank Ogawa Plaza -- Oakland Mayor Jean Quan issued a statement expressing concern for those who have been injured and promising to reduce police presence at the plaza.
Scott Olsen, a former U.S. Marine who served two tours in Iraq, was in critical condition as of Thursday after he was hit in the face by a police projectile.
In the statement, posted on Quan's Facebook page, the mayor said she and Police Chief Harold Jordan support the goals of Occupy Wall Street and are ready to meet with the city's Occupy organizers as soon as possible.
We have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99 percent 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, Quan wrote.
Quan: Some Inappropriate Use of Force Occured
Quan acknowledged that some police officers used inappropriate force on protesters on Tuesday night and vowed to personally monitor investigations of police misconduct.
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, Quan wrote. 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.
Hundreds of protesters were sickened by tear gas on Tuesday night while several others were injured by police violence or projectiles.
On Wednesday night, Occupy Oakland protesters tore down the fences surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza and held a general assembly of 2,000 people, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The were reportedly no police officers in sight.
Mayor 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.