Occupied Oak Trib @OccupiedOakTribThey were part of the Ice Cream Bloc, a bunch of Occupy Oaklanders who were getting together regularly for Ice Cream and then a protest in front of a bank. This time it turned into felony hate crime charges.
RT @michaelchaley I have just been told by one of the lawyers that the #IceCream3 has had ALL OF THEIR CHARGES DISMISSED!
There can be no clearer a case of purposeful state suppression of the Occupy movement than what happened to the 'Ice Cream 3', a trio of Occupy Oaklanders who found themselves charged with a hate crime after a yelling match and scuffle that occurred on February 22nd, 2012 as they left Fenton's Ice Cream parlour on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland en route to the protest.
Let's be clear. Hate crimes are some serious shit. I will not dwell on the horrible acts that have been perpetrated on both African Americans and people in the LGBT community or the fear that is induced by being taunted mercilessly by a individual or a mob. If you're a perpetrator of that kind of terror, you deserve worse than the law is likely to mete out.
There was none of that here. In the vernacular, there was no there there. If anything, the hate in the crime was hatred of Occupy Oakland. That led the complainant into an angry rant, precipitating an angry response. Similar exchanges happen to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, every day across the country.
The Occupy Oakland Anti-Repression Committee holds a press conference April 3rd, 2012, denouncing the charges against the Ice Cream 3, stay-away orders, and more. That would be me, looking like a mad professor directly in back of the woman with the big purse. Jesse from OOARC is reading our statement.
For a confused exchange of angry and hurtful words (even given the pre-trial testimony it is still unclear who called who what, when) and because the complainant alleged that one of the trio had stolen her purse (something that was never substantiated), the three involved in the brouhaha found themselves in a kafkaesque nightmare of absurdly high bail, guilt by association and trial by press release.
Had this occurred anywhere else in an urban American setting the police, if they came at all, would have taken statements and vanished, probably never to be heard from again. But because it was Oakland, and three Occupy Oaklanders were accused, one can easily picture the Oakland police and the Alameda County District Attorney licking their chops and rubbing their hands in glee over the headlines they would be getting, e.g.,
Occupy Oakland Protesters Charged With Hate Crime, Robbery
regardless of the absurdity of their charges. (Or try typing in "Oakland hate crime" to Google Images and the top hit you should get is a composite mug shot of the Ice Cream 3.)
But the reality was much different, consistent with today's dismissal of all the charges.
Defense Attorney Yolanda Huang's press release:
This morning, felony robbery and hate crime charges were dismissed against Occupy Oakland activists, Nneka Crawford, Michael Davis & Randolph Wilkins. The three defendants commend the District Attorney's office for dismissing these charges in the interest of justice, and encourage the Alameda County District Attorney's office to continue to dismiss future cases that are without merit.Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley has been on a no-holds-barred witch hunt against all things Occupy since at least December of 2011. For details about her other attacks see
Ms. Crawford said: "These dismissals are very telling of how the Oakland Police Department operates. I hope everyone realizes that despite how horrible the charges sounded, the presumption of innocence is really, really important. Please support other occupiers who face charges. It's hard to explain how felony charges are such a burden and weight, even when you know you're innocent.
This case is a clear example of Oakland Police trying to meddle in politics and its efforts to stifle free speech by creating a crime where none existed. This case shows that OPD is not really concerned with public safety but only in creating headlines and sensationalism. The day OPD arrested Ms. Crawford and Mr. Wilkins, they dispatched a sensationalized press release, which ultimately had no basis.
OPD needs to get out of politics and start doing its job. Public safety is not served by OPD creating or manufacturing crimes. Public safety is not served by OPD abusing its powers by arresting people simply to harass.
- "Nothing Short of Chilling." DA O'Malley Has To Go.
- Breaking: Power Mad DA Charges Berkeley Professor & Students Beaten by UC Police.
- The First Amendment Strikes Back
It was painfully obvious from start that O'Malley had no case. The complainant changed her story in repeated interviews and on the witness stand. She was obviously coached by the OPD because she "made up" the name of an Occupier, Sean Palmer, who was not involved in the incident and that she had never met or heard of before, when giving her first statement to the police. That name vanished in her revised report, given a day later.
With great power comes great responsibility. The District Attorney used her power to torment three innocent people, their friends and their comrades, despite a complete lack of credible evidence. She now has no responsibility left other than to resign.