In recent weeks, lawyers from the NLG’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter achieved two major victories for the rights of protesters faced with police brutality and unlawful repression.
The Anti-Capitalist Brigade started gathering early on May Day at Oakland’s Snow Park. There was free coffee, oatmeal, doughnuts, fliers with the day’s agenda and plenty of pot. A “street medic” — “I just finished a wilderness first-aid course,” he told me when I asked about his training — tended to his first case of the day, a man in his 20s whose leg had been beaten to a purple hue with a metal rod in an overnight fight in the park. Nearby, an organizer reminded protesters to take down the toll-free number for the National Lawyers Guild: “This is important.
The Oakland Police Department may have violated a 2003 agreement for handling street protests when it descended on an Occupy Oakland street protest Tuesday night, say lawyers affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild. That group, which is offering legal advice to protesters
arrested Tuesday, helped draft the 2003 policies on how to manage crowded protests, including appropriate use of rubber bullets, tear gas and other less-than-lethal forces.