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Hearing Set for Port Violence

—Angela Rowen
Friday April 11, 2003

Both the Oakland Police Department and the demonstrators who clashed with them at Monday’s anti-war protest will have a chance to testify at a hearing later this month. The public hearing will be held before the Public Safety Committee on April 29 at 3 p.m. in Oakland’s City Hall. 

City officials said they want to hold the hearing to examine whether the Oakland police department acted appropriately when they used wooden dowels, bean bags and rubber pellets to disperse a crowd of about 100 demonstrators protesting outside of Port of Oakland terminals Monday morning.  

Police said they had to use force because demonstrators refused to disperse when ordered to, were climbing on top of trucks that were attempting to enter the port terminals,and were throwing objects at police officers. Protesters have said the police response was unprovoked and excessive, insisting they were demonstrating peacefully before police opened fire. 

At least 12 protesters and six longshoremen were injured in the melee. The police made 31 arrests, but no one has been charged. 

Several demonstrators, some of whom spoke at a raucous City Council meeting Tuesday night, have said they will file a lawsuit against the city.  

The Oakland City Council will meet next week in a closed door meeting to consider City Attorney John Russo’s proposal to hire an external, independent investigator to look into the protest melee and police behavior.