Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Video: Police Brutally Beat Female Bicyclist Leela at ‘Occupy Oakland’ Anti-Police Brutality Protest

A young female bicyclist was knocked down and brutally beaten by police in riot gear at a demonstration against police brutality in Oakland, California last night.

The young woman, who has been identified by her first name Leela, was participating in yesterday’s ‘Fuck the Police’ march against police brutality in downtown Oakland when she was shoved to the ground and beaten by at least one baton-wielding officer. Other protesters rushed in to protect Leela and they, too, found themselves under threat of attack by the violent officers who chased them down the street.

About 100 protesters showed up for last night’s action; at least six were arrested.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the protesters had hoped to march on Oakland Police headquarters, but rows of officers prevented them from doing so. The Chronicle, while reporting about demonstrators behaving badly– including one arrested with a quarter stick of dynamite– barely mentioned anything about police brutality and nothing about Leela’s beating.

Occupy Oakland Media reports that police failed to follow their own “use of force” guidelines and gave no warning to disperse before resorting to violence. OOM claims that it wasn’t until 16 minutes after the beatings began that the order to disperse was issued.

OOM also claims that medics treated a protester with a broken leg who’d been shot in the face with a “non-lethal” round. It was a “non-lethal” round fired by police in Oakland that fractured former U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen’s skull as he peacefully protested on October 25. This is just the sort of blatant brutality that yesterday’s action was protesting. Also brutally beaten last fall by police in Oakland was former Army Ranger and Iraq and Afghanistan war vet Kayvan Sabehgi, who was hospitalized with a lacerated spleen.

OOM also reports that police threw a bicycle at a medic who was in the process of treating a wounded protester.

The National Lawyers Guild has called on the Oakland Police and Alameda County Sheriff’s Department cease their brutal harassment of ‘Occupy’ protesters. ‘Occupy Oakland’ has also called on Oakland city officials to release political prisoners who are facing felony charges for “crimes” like sitting peacefully in a public space.

A press release from ‘Occupy Oakland’ said last night’s action was a demonstration against a “brutal campaign of repression” by police against protesters exercising their First Amendment rights. The release describes Oakland as a “war zone.”

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