Richmond Police called to Occupy Oakland protest

Protestors sit in front of police barricades at last night's Occupy Oakland. Some spoke to police, read poetry or played guitar. (photo by: Alexis Kenyon)

Protestors sit in front of police barricades at last night's Occupy Oakland. Some spoke to police, read poetry or played guitar. (photo by: Alexis Kenyon)

The Richmond Police Department sent 13 officers to assist with crowd control at the Occupy Oakland protest Tuesday evening.

The individuals were sent as part of the Contra Costa County Mutual Aid Mobile Field Force, a group of officers specially trained in crowd control. The team was called around 7 p.m. and geared up at the station just an hour and a half later.

The air around 14th and Broadway, where the protests took place, was thick with tear gas. (photo by: Alexis Kenyon)

They arrived at the scene around 10:30 p.m. in a caravan of 65 police vehicles and about 120-150 officers, said Richmond Police Captain Mark Gagan, who was part of the group.

“Most of the arrests had been made and almost all of the force used had already occurred,” Gagan said. “The Contra Costa County [MAMFF] was asked to provide relief to officers that had been working since the incident began and we held perimeter around Frank Ogawa Plaza.”

Although around 1,000 protesters assembled earlier in the evening, Gagan said only 200 remained when his team showed up.

“People were sitting on the other side of the barricades reading poetry to us and telling us their opinions of the economy and how we have just as much to gain by their movement,” he said. “There were really no negative or harsh interactions with anybody.”

Gagan said he did not see any force being used during his time at the protest.

About 200 individuals remained after tear gas was released. Many covered their mouths and noses to filter the air. (photo by: Alexis Kenyon)

Occupy Oakland is part of a global movement against corporate exploitation. The initial “Occupy Wall Street” protests began in New York, but have sprung up everywhere from California to Tokyo.

This is only the second time Richmond’s MAMFF has provided backup this year. But they also regularly participate in crowd control in events other than protests or times of civil unrest.

The City of Richmond has 42 officers attached to the mobile field force and about 15 are trained for this type of special forces work.

Gagan said he does not expect that Richmond Police will be called to the protests tonight.

For more updates on the Occupy Oakland protests, visit


    • All police agencies in Contra Costa and Alameda counties utilize the “mutual aid” process to assist each other when they are individually unable to deal with crowd control or civil unrest situations. For Richmond not to participate when another agency requests emergency assistance would put our own community in jeopardy, because we have needed mutual aid many times in the past–and will likely need it in the future.

      That said, RPD is very cognizant of what roles we will and won’t play when assisting other agencies. Our officers are accompanied by a high level supervisor from our department (usually Captain Gagan) and they are well trained in “best practice” crowd control tactics. This means we limit our involvement to engagement that is safe, lawful, and appropriate for the incident. In Oakland, we assisted with perimeter control and basic security details.

  1. Rev. T. Lawrence Shanon

    The Richmond Police Department was shamelessly used again by the 1% who enslaves us.
    The RPD are splattered with the blood of the young Irak war veteran and with the tears of peaceful demonstrators.
    The RPD has trampled our constitution to serve the interest of greedy corporate america.
    The RPD in Oakland demonstrate what the RPD ultimately is all about: Repressing the 99%, not serving it.
    The day of reckoning is coming!

  2. Richmond warrior

    all i can say is Gangs always back each other up.

  3. Tony Suggs

    I am neither part of the so called 1% or part of the supposedly 99% that feels they are being enslaved.

    Because we have the greatest freedom of all countries in this world, it does not mean that we have complete freedom to do what ever we want, when ever we want, no matter how it may hurt others.

    But the greatest freedom we do have that is not available to many others in this world, is to go somewhere else if we don’t like it here.

  4. Perhaps, Tony, the greatest freedom we do have is to peacefully protest, your cliched response notwithstanding.

    • Tony Suggs

      When the so called protesters, damage private or public property, prevent others from going to or going home from their jobs, they are not exercising free speech anymore.

      Again, if it is so bad here that these people have to infringe on the rights of others, then maybe they should find their utopia somewhere else.

      Cliche intended!

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