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KGO Radio Reporter Shares Account of Occupy Oakland Conflict

Jeffrey Schaub of Novato describes how Tuesday's confrontation "got ugly" with tear gas being fired on the crowd.

Jeffrey Schaub of KGO Radio (810 AM) was stuck in the middle of the Occupy Oakland protest Tuesday night and got sprayed with tear gas. The Novato resident shares his account below. Check out this audio report that aired on KGO. For ongoing coverage of the Occupy protests, bookmark www.kgoam810.com.

The afternoon started peacefully with a rally on the steps of the Oakland public library. Protesters using megaphones were deploring the arrest earlier that day of some 90 or so campers at City Hall.

It wasn't the usual crowd of twenty-something kids. People had come from throughout Oakland ... couples in their 30s and 40s, grandparents who experienced the protests of the 1960s. Then they marched ... several thousand by my estimate. They played drums and other musical instruments. It was this great shared experience.

But it got ugly near the Alameda County jail. The marchers wanted to go there where their comrades were jailed. There were seven or so police officers in riot gear who tried to disperse the crowd. They ended up surrounded. The protesters were throwing paint  and water bottles at them — even backpacks. There was pushing and shoving. It was very volatile.

But the group backed off and the march continued to Frank Ogawa Plaza, where the encampment had been. Barricades were lined by police and sheriffs in full riot gear, gas masks and weapons. More shouting. People threw bottles and paint.

Then, at about 7:40 p.m., the police lobbed several tear gas grenades into the packed crowd (I estimate perhaps 1,000 people) and everybody ran.

I was in the middle of it and was gassed myself. There was a terrible burning in my eyes and the back of my throat — and tears, of course. I dialed the newsroom and said we'd better get on the air again.

I did my best to report the situation while I fought back the effects of the tear gas. People all around me were sick; some were throwing up. There were a couple of injured marchers on the ground. People were screaming for medical help. There was none.

Here's the deal: The vast majority of the marchers were peaceful and very well intentioned. They are upset at the state of our economy. They are worried about our future. They are dismayed by the gridlock in Washington. But there was a minority element of the crowd that provoked the police almost relentlessly. This is why they fired off what was eventually several rounds of tear gas on five separate occasions.

But the crowd kept coming back. Again I was overcome by tear gas.

Finally the majority of the marchers headed home. I think the tear gas and the fear of mass arrest spooked them.

It was a dramatic experience. For a reporter, it was exciting. Where it leads I cannot say. The protest leaders told me they will return to the Plaza at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday).  What will happen? More confrontation? More bottles and paint and M-80s?  More tear gas?

Stay tuned. 

Worry October 26, 2011 at 08:13 PM
If more confrontation, more bottles, paint, and M-80's, then "Yes" more tear gas and hopefully more force from the police to help restore order on the streets of Oakland.
Roy Bean October 26, 2011 at 08:22 PM
In the park you can protest all you want you just can't camp there. It's just that simple. If you want to camp go to K.O.A.
Cathy October 26, 2011 at 08:41 PM
If you read the article with any care at all you would realize that they were marching and that the camp had already been disbanded earlier in the day. The First Amendment provides for Free Speech and I believe there are other things about peaceable assembly ... I don't recall where the part about permits required for assembly. ALSO the author reported in the middle of the story that water bottles --- which are usually plastic --- being thrown. So some small % pitches a few water bottles & paint at officers in full riot gear and they respond with tear gas canisters fired into the crowd at their heads -- rather than at their feet as is protocol. Then, the OPD defends their actions by blaming it on "other PD's that were called in to assist them". Anyone else find it interesting that this enforcement action is happening when a recall petition of Jean Kwan was started? Check out the SF Chronicle story on the enforcement if you want a more complete report.
Frank Simpson October 26, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Much has been written and spoken about the "wheres, hows, and why" of the occupy movement. Some complain that they have no real objective. Other say they are just hippies--as if they even knew what the term means. It is too soon to tell, but perhaps history will eventually mark these events as the first general strike in the USA.
Craig Knowlton October 27, 2011 at 04:05 AM
What would you suggest the officers do in response to be assaulted? It's ok to throw paint, rocks and bottles (regardless of what they are made of) at people?
Janna Barkin October 27, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Power to the Peaceful
Thomas Anderson October 27, 2011 at 05:41 PM
head the mob towards 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to protest the heart of the problem, Chrony Capitalism.
Marie October 27, 2011 at 11:56 PM
I am extremely disappointed to see people who think it is acceptable for protestors to attack the police (it is completely unacceptable for even one protestor to behave violently!!!!!). People should be enraged about the barbaric behavior of some of the protestors, not about the response of the police. The poorly behaved protestors detract from any valid points that some of the more respectful protestors may have. The peaceful protestors had the option to leave; they didn’t leave, so they got gassed along with their violent counterparts. What did they expect? Everyone knows that police use tear gas for mob control. They CHOSE to stay; therefore, they CHOSE to get gassed. People really need to stop blaming others for the consequences of their actions, behaviors, and choices. Ditto with arrested protestors. If the protestors simply would have let the workers clean up, then no one would have been arrested. The clean-up was necessary because some (not all) of the protestors would not clean up after themselves and their filth was creating health and fire hazards. The protestors knew the clean-up was temporary & they would be allowed to resume protesting in a few short hours after city workers cleaned up. Yet, knowing they could get arrested, some protestors chose to stay and prevent the workers from doing their job. Therefore, they chose to get arrested.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 28, 2011 at 03:26 AM
I am "upset" about the economy, also. But these leftists are the same people who voted in the present state and federal administrations. The old saying about voters getting the government that they deserve was never more true. It is never okay to attack police who are trying to keep the peace. If the protesters wanted to be nearer to their jailed comrades, I have a solution for that. They can be in the next cell.
Ross Ingels October 28, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Mr. Schaub, you make a huge jump from grandparents and couples in their 40s to “at about 7:40 p.m., the police lobbed several tear gas grenades into the packed crowd (I estimate perhaps 1,000 people) and everybody ran”. You left out a ton of critical information that would have made your story more accurate and just as dramatic. First of all, the protest may have started peaceful but by 7:40 p.m. a good portion of the crowd had turned violent. A police barricade was torn down and metal objects were being thrown at the police. You, like every other media outlet left out the fact that the police read an unlawful assembly warning numerous times. This warning included the phrase “if you do not leave now, chemical agents will be used- if you do not leave now arrests will be made and injuries may occur”. The warning also gave the exact location where the chemical agents would be used (14th and Boradway) and gave protesters a direction to leave the area (eastbound on 14th) before they were deployed. Anyone left in the area when chemical agents were used had plenty of warning to leave and should have known the consequences of their inaction.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 29, 2011 at 12:14 AM
The legal term for what Ross described is: "reading the riot act". It is a prerequisite for any mob/assemblage intervention by police. The police must describe what laws are being violated, the action that the police require of the assemblage, and what actions the police will take if the assemblage does not comply. The Oakland police did everything according to the law.
Susan Clark October 29, 2011 at 12:26 AM
Watching the news it was mentioned that the protests are resulting in nearby businesses losing 50-60% of their business. What gives the protestors the right to ruin people's livelyhood? That's just wrong!!! These protestors haven't a clue as to whom they are effecting!!! Reply
Sharon Salisbury October 29, 2011 at 04:36 AM
What gives the bankers and stock brokers the right to ruin people's lives and then get million dollar bonuses for their good works? People have been writing letters, holding vigils, protesting for years trying to hold politicians responsible and things have only gotten worse. We do not have a democracy...we have an oligarchy and if you could explain how the 99% who are getting ignored, screwed , have had their livelihoods "effected" for years, not days...can get the attention they so sorely need, please let us know. Why are your sympathies with a few store owners when unemployment is devastating this country?
Bob Ratto October 29, 2011 at 04:45 AM
Sharon I can't and won't speak for Susan, but maybe the idea of a "few store owners" laying off employees because of disruption (and a mayor that has real problems) is not such a good idea. But, Susan can answer that better.
Sharon Salisbury October 29, 2011 at 07:26 AM
Bob, I think you are not seeing the forest for the trees. While I don't want to see anyone laid off I do have to say... If any employees are even being laid off it will be for a short time while in the meantime, millions are losing their homes, having already lost their homes. It is NOT the protesters causing the problems...it is the might of the huge corporations who accepted our money to bail them out, gave themselves huge bonuses, then rewarded us with higher banking fees. The system is rotten from the bottom up and needs real reform. All we have is our so called right to gather and protest pitted against mind-boggling money and greed in both the government and it's best friends...big corporations.

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