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Fri Jan 27, 2012, 11:54 AM

As long as Oakland police trample on people's rights, the NLG will continue to hold them accountable [View all]

For as long as Oakland police trample on people's rights, the Guild will continue seeking to hold them accountable.


NLGSF Asks Federal Court to Certify Class Action by Oscar Grant Protesters

January 26, 2012

As OPD comes under increasing scrutiny, the NLG seeks an end to ongoing baseless arrests and incarceration of demonstrators.

In a filing today, a team of National Lawyers Guild attorneys asks the federal court to allow a law enforcement misconduct lawsuit against the Oakland Police and Alameda County Sheriff to proceed as a class action. The four named plaintiffs, including one NLG Legal Observer, seek to represent a class of 150 people who were arrested en masse on November 5, 2010, the day that former police officer Johannes Mehserle was sentenced.

The proposed class action, Spalding et al. v. Oakland, No. C11-2867 TEH, challenges the 2010 mass misdemeanor arrests and the prolonged detention of arrestees in the Alameda County Jails. The case is being heard by U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson as a related case to the ongoing proceedings in the lawsuits brought by victims of the “Riders” OPD gang. Earlier this week, in response to the Department’s glacial pace in completing the reform process agreed on in the 2003 Riders settlement, Judge Henderson stripped decision-making power from OPD, placing the Department under greatly increased oversight by monitors and bringing it one step closer to federal receivership. Last week, the monitor expressed particular concern over the OPD response to Occupy Oakland.

“The Spalding case is more important than ever, because OPD and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office are continuing these same abuses with regard to Occupy Oakland,” commented Michael Flynn, San Francisco Bay Area NLG Chapter President. “Over the past month and a half, the OPD has engaged in a campaign of brutal harassment, making repeated arrests of Occupy Oakland protesters on pretexts, and causing them to be held for days, only to be released without charges.”

“California law requires most misdemeanor arrestees to be released with a citation, but in Alameda County, even very minor charges often result in extended periods of time in jail,” explained Rachel Lederman, one of the lead attorneys on the Spalding case. “The Mehserle sentencing demonstrators were herded by police into a residential block and trapped there, along with neighborhood residents. Then they were all detained for 18-24 hours. There was no lawful basis for the mass arrest, and none of the 150 class members were ever charged with a crime.”


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Reply As long as Oakland police trample on people's rights, the NLG will continue to hold them accountable [View all]
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