Under pressure from businesses after a large May Day demonstration in which dozens of new cars and bank windows were smashed, Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, has instituted a ban on nighttime street marches that has outraged the Oakland activist community. The mayor’s directive violates a federal court order, and has escalated ongoing tension between police and protesters — while doing nothing to address the serious issues of state-sponsored racism, extrajudicial killings, and police impunity that are at the heart of the growing national movement.
We obtained a $9,500 settlement for Jacob Crawford, an investigative videojournalist and copwatcher, for his unlawful detention and citation by the Oakland Police on July 19, 2013. Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent had just instituted a policy of ticketing persons going to and from demonstrations for pedestrian and bicycle violations. Chief Whent and Mayor Quan claimed this ongoing policy was intended to deter vandalism and other serious unlawful activity, by openly gathering personal information on persons who attend protests, but the persons who have been ticketed are simply demonstrators and journalists, whose First Amendment activity is being chilled by the selective traffic enforcement. In Jacob’s case he was lawfully filming the police and asking their identities as a rally protesting George Zimmerman’s acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin was beginning, when Sgt. Darrin Downum detained Jacob and gave him a ticket for jaywalking. The ticket was completely unfounded and was thrown out in court. Jacob now works with Rachel full time as an investigator and paralegal.
Read the Courthouse News article.