Here are two videos from our reporter Andrew Stelzer, taken on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, during the mass demonstration by Occupy Oakland.
In the first video, a black-clad protester smashes the window of City National Bank on Webster Street in Oakland. He then tries to walk away but is tackled by Zach Voorhees of San Francisco. The man is then held by other protesters, but was allowed to walk away, according to Stelzer.
Stelzer catches up to Voorhees and asks, “why did you do what you did?”
“This isn’t about violence,” says Voorhees. “This is about changing the system. And if people cause violence then they are going to disrupt the narrative and they are going to take focus away and they are going to give police the justification to crack down… Violence does not change. Non-violence is the most powerful weapon that we have as citizens…I don’t know who these people are, but they have masks, they have black flags, and they’re trying to smash up. And I’m going to stop that if I can because I want this march to remain peaceful.”
The second video is more disturbing. It is also darkly lit and you will need to take into account Andrew Stelzer’s reporting to put it into any kind of context. Here are the main points:
- The incident occurred about 1:20 a.m. Thursday morning, about seven or eight minutes after police had descended upon and re-assserted control over Frank Ogawa Plaza. At the time, police were in the last few minutes of making arrests.
- The man you will see injured in the video was walking toward police when he was shot with what appears to be a non-lethal weapon, judging from the knee wound he displays near the end of the video.
- Stelzer estimates the man was about 10 feet from police when the shot was fired.
- Stelzer does not know if police issued a warning before firing.
- Judging from his bearing and the way he was walking, the man did not appear to apprehend the gravity of the situation he was in. He was kind of “striding along the side of the plaza,” according to Andrew. The man did not appear to be part of the protest, but it’s impossible to say at this point.
- We haven’t determined yet if the man was taken to the hospital. If anyone knows anything about the incident, please let us know.