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Who knew? Oakland has a Citizens' Police Review Board. You certainly couldn't tell by the behavior of the Oakland Police.


The CPRB had scheduled a forum on Police conduct to be held at Oakland City Hall February 9th. They had even agreed to give an autonomous group from Occupy Oakland thirty minutes to make a presentation about their experiences with the Oakland Police. A week before this forum was scheduled to take place it was canceled (aka "indefinitely postponed.") The purported reasons for this cancellation need not concern us; it is obvious what the real reason was -- political pressure in light of last week's actions by the Oakland Police in response to OO.

Upon hearing news of this cancellation, a proposal was brought to the Occupy Oakland General Assembly to form an official Occupy Oakland working group to put on their own forum at the same time and with a similar format to the now-cancelled one. The proposal passed overwhelmingly. There was only one problem -- only a week was left to organize the entire thing. With no place to hold it and no one lined up to speak, you might think that this would be logistically impossible. If so, you underestimate the organized chaos that is Occupy Oakland when it sets its mind to something.


Within days, the owner of the Grand Lake Theatre had donated his main screen and hall. Jim Chanin, a nationally prominent civil rights attorney who has pursued the Oakland Police Department for most of his career, consented to speak. The Internet was scoured for videos of the Oakland Police violating California law and their own crowd control policies (signed off by OPD under a consent decree settlement). Along with pictures and text these were furiously integrated into a presentation to be shown on the big screen -- which, truth to tell, wasn't absolutely finalized until an hour before showtime. OakFoSho, Occupy Oakland's now famous livestreamer and the perfect person to narrate the presention, volunteered. Counselors from the Interfaith Group at Occupy Oakland were invited to be on hand in case anyone was re-traumatized. Word of the event was spread by media blasts, Facebook and twitter. Everyone then held their breath.

At 6:20 PM (a mere five minutes late), the doors to the Grand Lake Theatre were opened and hundreds of people streamed in. It still could have been a flop, or a tour de force. As to which, I will let the tweets (below) speak for themselves.

At 10:20 PM, four hours later, the last citizen speaker has spoken. There were still a hundred people remaining in the hall (I counted them). The thank you's presented, the forum adjourned.

Here are links to the video of the forum.  You probably don't want to watch hours and hours, so I've indicated where each speaker and part begins. If you watch nothing else I recommend Attorney Jim Chanin as he enumerates the repeated and continued oppression the Oakland Police has rained down on Oakland's citizens. (E.g., in paraphrase: "2 out of 3 drug warrants of hundreds and hundreds were found to be based on falsifications and/or perjury.") But then, I'm that kind of legalistic geek. YMMV.

First stream:

  Janice Embry: 00:07:40
  Professor Oden: 00:15:00
  Jim Chanin: 00:23:00
  OakFoSho, presentation begins: 00:45:00

Second stream:
  Presentation continues: 00:00  :00
  Presentation ends, standing ovation: 00:28:00
  Mike Flynn, National Lawyer's Guild: 00:54:00
  Citizen's Police Review Board: 01:04:00
  Police Chief Howard Jordan's non-appearance, minute of silence: 01:16:30
  Laleh on non-self-incrimination: 01:19:30
  Citizen's forum speakers begin: 01:26:00

Third stream:
  Citizen's forum speakers continue: 00:00:00

The Evening Unfolds, As Played Out in the Twitterverse

Some of the tweeters:

alyssa011968 is our own allie123, arrested twice, once on October 25th and once on January 28th.

susie_c is a local reporter who has also been arrested twice by OPD covering OO.

benzotweet is a member of the OO Media Committee and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Oaktownmike is a civil rights attorney and the son of Dan Siegal, Mayor Quan's legal advisor who resigned over her policies towards OO.

Oaklandelle is one of OO's amazing medics.

Yes, it's a long twitter stream, but well worth reading in it's entirety... If you don't though, there are my concluding remarks and video below it!.

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO we have speakers- Sarah is giving guidelines. Thank Grand lake theatre!They r pillar in com &have supported us from beginning

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO OPD recruited cops from KKK. Other ppl tweeting this. I'm not gonna try. Spaced out from dentist.

susie_c Susie Cagle
Janice Embry points out how financially devastating federal receivership of OPD would/will be for Oakland. #OO #CPRB

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO former Professor from Hayward State and former Black Panther speaking.He served on jury where police tried frame black man crime

oaklandlocal Oakland Local
At CPRB #OO police violence forum. Dr. Oden speaking on community control of police

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO Lawyer from Riders case is up.

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
Srsly if you aren't at the #CPRB right now or watching a stream your missing out. This presentation is INSANE. #oo #OccupyOakland

nzmrmn nzmrmn
Riders Scandal attorney Jim Chanin: 2/3s of the warrants for narcotics were based on false or perjurious information. #oo #crpb #occupy #ows

dowdyspen Jennifer Dowdy, MSW
Jim Chanin's understanding and presentation of #OPD corruption is impeccable & disturbing. This is why we Occupy. #OO #OSF

nzmrmn nzmrmn
Riders Scandal attorney Jim Chanin: represented & eventually settled for 129 plaintiffs. 128 were people of color. #oo #cprb

OakFoSho Spencer: For Hire
LIVE - I present next at #OccupyOakland #CPRB!

susie_c Susie Cagle
Jim Chanin on OPD troubles leading into fed receivership; don't follow own policies. "That's been the sticking point for last 11 yrs."

OccupiedOakTrib Scott Johnson
Chanin: "What would receivership look like? Hard to say, not a single police dept in the US that has ever been put in receivership." #cprb

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO crowd policy states specifically less than lethal weapons can Never shoot into crowd unless ppl lives in imminent danger

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO gas not to be used unless OPD has medical personal on hand etc... We need to sue shit out of city!

OaklandElle Elle of Oakland
According to #OPD crowd control policy, teargas may not be used w/o medical personnel present. #ProTip: #OO #StreetMedics don't count, guys!

susie_c Susie Cagle
Crowd fills ~60% lower theater level. ~15-20% raised hands to say they were at '03 port debacle which led to new OPD crowd policy. #OO

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
This #CPRB is devastating. Opd violated signed federal court orders repeatedly, and on camera,and failed to ack. it in any format.

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
$57 million paid out in police misconduct puts Oakland at #1 in the us, over #2 sf at $7million. #oo #OccupyOakland

improvactor improvactor
WOW! The #OccupyOakland #CPRB is really interesting! It's a must watch! #OO #OWS #OPD (live at

susie_c Susie Cagle
Now: police brutality vids on big screen presented by @oakfosho. Facilitator Sarah: "thank you thank you thank you" to videographers.

susie_c Susie Cagle
"This [forum] is not meant to demonize #OPD" but hold them to their own policies says @OakFoSho. #OO

Kevin_Seal Kevin Seal
Amounts paid over police misconduct cases: #3, San Jose, $2.8 million; #2, San Francisco, $8.6 million; #1, Oakland, $57.4 million. #OO

This #riders lawyer KILLING IT! spilling #opd nasty rotting innards , need him at #ftp march , lol @LadyGofTheTAC @oo_media

OccupiedOakTrib Scott Johnson
Adorable photo of @susie_c shown, as she gets applause for being arrested twice. #cprb

OccupiedOakTrib Scott Johnson
Video shows @OakFoSho telling multiple cops they are breaking law, huge applause. #cprb

beingtherewith l.e. long
In case you're wondering, watching your friend get shot by police on the big screen only makes it worse. #OO #CPRB

JoshuaHol Joshua Holland
.@OakFoSho is presenting an incredible, comprehensive indictment of OPD abuses. #OO

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
Ok guys was I right about this #CPRB #oo presentation or what guys?? Damning, devastating indictment of the #opd.

Kevin_Seal Kevin Seal
Dr. Stan Oden at #OccupyOakland open forum about the Oakland Police Dep't at @grandlake. Beautifully organized. #OO

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
if this #CPRB didn't change your mind about #oo or renew your commitment to cause, you likely have a brain injury, seek medical attention.

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO I was almost hit by baton on 18th after tear gassed I had run

susie_c Susie Cagle
Adrian: "Wouldn't it be funny if they just kettled us here?" #CPRB #OO

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
I gotta say it, @oo_media crushed this #CPRB presentation. Major props to @OakFoSho @wiseoldsnail and @geekeasy. #oo

beingtherewith l.e. long
Most attention has focused on #OO, but opening speakers def. situated #CPRB in the context of unchecked systematic violence against POC.

OccupiedOakTrib Scott Johnson
Mention of Howard Jordan gets #QuanHands #cprb

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO @OakFoSho presentation needs to be documentary!! I was at all those thins except Vigil arrest $ porta potty thanksgiving arrest

@benzotweet @oo_media awesome! This is a GREAT PRESENTATION . needs to be seen by #ows folks who dont understand why many at #oo say #FTP

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO President of SF NLG is speaking.

CopuTroll CopuTroll
CopuTroll tips his cap to #OccupyOakland. Even I must admit @OakFoSho #OO CPRB presentation was epic.

susie_c Susie Cagle
City's #CPRB head Patrick Caceres is here. I wasn't sure if he would be; he hasn't answered my calls in weeks. #OO

alyssa011968 Alyssa
@OccupiedOakTrib: "No court order is going to stop OPD, it takes organizing and action." - Mike Flynn, NLG #OccupyOakland #OO

susie_c Susie Cagle
Feb 16 6pm #CPRB meeting to discuss the postponement. #OO #unnecessarymeta

OccupiedOakTrib Scott Johnson
Official #cprb guy says there are 8 open #oo related complaints. Seems incredibly small. Includes Olsen, Sabeghi, and Campbell and 5 others.

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
you know it! Doing it tonight. :) RT @kissability: @benzotweet Will the #CPRB presentation be put online?

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
OPD chief Howard Jordan didn't "feel safe" coming tonight. Ain't no such thing as halfway crooks, yo. #shook #CPRB #oo

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO people sharing stories. Mindy is up.

OaktownMike Michael Siegel
@bayreporta @OccupiedOakTrib IA is equally useless. If you've suffered major injury, more likely you'll contact John Burris than the City.

OccupiedOakTrib Scott Johnson
Ali criticizes #cprb "babies," need to go out to West Oakland.

susie_c Susie Cagle
"I spent a day of quality time with the younger generation," says 70 year old ex-Marine of his post-#j28 detention at Santa Rita. #OO

alyssa011968 Alyssa
#Occupy #OO guy says why Obama brings 3world is war.People upset by flag burning need 2no US flag is dripping w/ blood from pple arnd world

SingnPlay Sing n Play
Tess frm #OO 's Childrn's Village speaks. Voice breaks saying City didn't acknowldge childrn being @ J28 #CPRB #occupyoakland

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
lol that's the title! Thanks! @nzmrmn: Police brutality: Not just for black people anymore! #OO #CPRB

sickjew sick jew
So in one day, NYC almost instituted people's mic at a DOE Panel, and Oakland took over a cancelled Citizens' Police Review Board. #ows #oo

susie_c Susie Cagle
Tobi tosses bean bag projectiles to crowd like candy."I'd take off my shirt [to show wounds] but I don't want any more white terrorism."

ThornCoyle T. Thorn Coyle
She was inspired. RT @benzotweet: OMG @BellaEiko you KILLED! You can just do that whenever you want, right? #CPRB #oo

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
"If you're black, & you have a problem for which you call police, you will have two problems. One of which is potentially lethal." #oo

Yaelnc Yael Chanoff
"this isn't about OPD isn't following their own policies, this is what police do all over the world" #oo #CPRB

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
I reeeeally want to get up to the mic and talk about how opd violated every tenant of customer service. But I won't. #OO #CPRB

benzotweet Benjamin Phillips
@Dr_BJL: @benzotweet OPD has great customer service. Problem is the service theyre providing to political elites & the 1% is attack #OO

billrosethorn Bill Rose
Big time thanks for all behind #cprb tonight! Great job #occuppyoakland #occupysf

punkboyinsf #pUNkBoyInSF
#occupy has woken the public up. City dwelling blacks and Latinos have known for years. The cops are not your friends unless you are rich.

susie_c Susie Cagle
#CPRB confirms that they have no pending investigations re: #journarrests. I filed my complaint even though Caceres blew me off. #OO

OaklandElle Elle of Oakland
Ali & @BellaEiko posing with #OccupyOakland sign... #OO #lulz

Will this event, or events like it, have any effect? The forum was, after all, preaching to the choir. No one from the Oakland City Council, the Mayor's office, the City Administrator's office or the Police Department showed up that I am aware of.

Given the amazing history of OPD violence going back decades, given that consent orders and a Federal Judge have not been able to rein them in, given that the Oakland City Council seems incapable of controlling their own police force regardless of the amount of money it is costing the City's taxpayers in overtime and lawsuit settlements, the prospects are not good.

But if the Occupy movement has already managed to change the rhetoric of the entire country, who knows what might happen in a small city on the Left Coast?


  1. Professor Oden speaking at the forum. Taken by Allie123.
  2. OakFoSho doing what he does best.

p.s. If you are in the Bay Area, or visiting the Bay Area, make a special effort to visit the Grand Lake Theatre as a way of showing support and thanks!

11:30 AM PT: A recent tweet:

vontweetz becca v.b.

@OakFoSho you OWNED that crowd last night! Great job.. I think the event was eye-opening and inspirational for many. #CPRB #occupyoakland

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:23 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, California politics, SFKossacks, and Dailykos Kossacks For Action.

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