Five Occupy Oakland protesters have lost a bid to a federal judge in San Francisco for a temporary restraining order blocking what they claim is excessive use of force by police.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg declined on Wednesday to grant a temporary restraining order against the city and Police Chief Howard Jordan.
Seeborg said the plaintiffs had produced evidence indicating they might be able to prove that the city violated its crowd control policy “on sporadic occasions,” but said they hadn’t shown the “widespread and systematic” constitutional violations that would warrant such an order.
“The Occupy Oakland protests have continued, at times, for days on end without any alleged unconstitutional interference from local authorities,” Seeborg wrote.
“Sporadic or isolated violations of individual protesters’ rights are insufficient to support broad injunctive relief against an entire agency,” the judge said.
Seeborg scheduled a hearing for Nov. 30 on the protesters’ request for a preliminary injunction, the next step in the case.
The five protesters filed their lawsuit on Monday. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California is also a plaintiff.
The plaintiffs claim police use of projectiles and tear gas on Oct. 25 and Nov. 2 violated the city’s policy, their First Amendment right of free speech and other constitutional rights. They say they fear violations will continue unless blocked by a court order.
Lawyers for the city said in court papers filed Tuesday that police are complying with the Constitution and city policy and that alleged isolated incidents of misconduct will be investigated.
“The record is clear that the Oakland Police Department has done a very difficult job facilitating First Amendment activities by thousands of persons on a daily basis under stressful conditions over the past 30 days in a manner consistent with the Constitution and the department’s own crowd control policy,” the attorneys said.
The five protesters who filed the lawsuit are Timothy Campbell, who says he was hit in the leg with a bean-bag projectile by police on Nov. 2; National Lawyers Guild legal observer Marcus Kryshka; Marc McKinnie and Michael Siegel, who say they were hit with projectiles on Oct. 25; and Kerie Campbell, who says she would like to include her children in demonstrations but fears for their safety.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News
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