SAN LEANDRO |Nov. 8, 2011| San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli indicated Monday night that Oakland officials expected civil unrest after the Oct. 25 raid on Occupy Oakland protesters and it would necessitate mutual aid from neighboring public safety agencies.
“They also knew by doing such it would cause civil unrest and that is why they asked for the resources to help them with what they hoped would be a peaceful engagement,” said Spagnoli. “However, they anticipated that would not be the case.”
The comment came after San Leandro Councilman Jim Prola questioned whether an early morning raid last month on Frank Ogawa Plaza was needed. “Help me understand how that could be an emergency when you have people sleeping and they’re going in,” asked Prola.
Spagnoli told the City Council she understood the decision by Oakland officials was centered on health and safety issues at the plaza.
San Leandro police officers were used on both occasions mutual aid was requested by the Oakland Police Department. Spagnoli said the city’s tab for the nighttime deployments was just over $20,000. The sum is paltry next to the expected millions paid out by Oakland, yet in lean economic times, cities like San Leandro are beginning to balk at extra expenditures such as those requested in Oakland over the past few weeks.
San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy said Oakland officials did not have a plan going forward. “I’m not here to second-guess an agency, but it is a question of what was the plan to sustain this?” said Cassidy. “I’m just concerned in part that perhaps inadequate decision-making by another agency then impacts us.”
Spagnoli also appeared to take a pointed swipe at Oakland’s response to the clearing of Frank Ogawa Plaza. “From a public safety and law enforcement side there was planning in place and I think the higher powers-that-be changed it around and I think that creates challenges to public safety,” she said.
Although Cassidy said he was not advocating against mutual aid to neighboring cities, he took umbrage with the perception Oakland officials moved too easily toward blaming an outside agencies after a Marine veteran was seriously injured with a tear gas canister in the face. “I would hate to see the city exposed to major liability without any indemnification in such a situation,” said Cassidy.