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.
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.
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 oaklandnorth.net.