The Oakland City Attorney’s Office is filing lawsuits seeking to recover damages from two people charged with spray painting city property during a January Occupy Oakland protest.
The city filed the lawsuits against Chloe Watlington, 25, and Paul Woods, 25, this month seeking $400 to cover the cost of cleaning up city property, plus special and punitive damages to be determined by the court.
Watlington and Woods were both arrested around 9 p.m. on Jan. 28 on suspicion of spray painting at the Scotlan Convention Center in Oakland, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
The arrests occurred during a day of repeated clashes between police and Occupy Oakland protestors, who made an attempt to take over the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. City Hall was also damaged by vandals during the day of protests, and city officials reported extensive graffiti in the area around Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Watlington was allegedly seen by police officers spray painting the convention center, while Woods allegedly painted the words “Oakland Commune” on a sign at Broadway and 11th Street.
The City Attorney previously sued one other person for allegedly smashing windows at a city building during a November 2011 Occupy Oakland protest, and expects to file more. The city has hired an investigator to review video of incidents of vandalism associated with recent protests and identify other subjects.
“Unfortunately, a number of peaceful protests in Oakland have been marred by individuals who use the crowd as cover to vandalize public buildings, trash local businesses and lash out in other destructive ways,” City Attorney Barbara Parker said. “Oakland taxpayers should not have to shoulder the costs of this behavior.”
“We expect these individuals to take responsibility for their actions and make the City whole,” Parker added.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News