Friday, July 9, 2010

Oakland School Board Member Arrested During Protests

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Updated: Oakland school board member Jumoke Hinton Hodge was arrested last night by police when she refused to stop playing chess at the intersection of Broadway and 14th Streets, said former longtime school board member Dan Siegel. Hinton Hodge was among a group of peaceful demonstrators who were occupying the intersection for several hours following the Johannes Mehserle verdict until Oakland police decided to move their skirmish line from 12th and Broadway to 14th and Broadway, said Siegel who was among the demonstrators. Also arrested was longtime Oakland education activist Susan Harman.

Councilwomen Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan, who are also both running for mayor this year, attempted to intervene and convince Oakland police officers that their decision to advance up Broadway at about 7:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m. — and arrest Hinton Hodge — was unnecessary because the demonstrations were peaceful at that time. But police ignored the councilwomen, Siegel said. “It was crazy,” Siegel said of the police response. "It seemed unnecessarily confrontational."

Siegel said his group attempted to contact higher-ranking police commanders but were unsuccessful. He said up until the cops’ decision to move, the protest scene was mostly subdued, with people, including Hinton Hodge, playing chess, or throwing a football around, or riding skateboards. But shortly after the police advancement, the protest turned ugly — although Siegel stopped short of blaming police for provoking the ensuing rioting.

As of this morning, Hinton Hodge and Harman were still in custody, said Siegel, who is also a prominent Oakland attorney.

Update 1:35 p.m.: Quan said police decided to advance up Broadway after a few anarchists started throwing bottles at cop cars. She also said police had become aware of looting that had started north of the intersection at Broadway and 14th.

Longtime Oakland activist James Vann said Harman, who has diabetes, has been released from custody, but it appears that Hinton Hodge is still in custody this afternoon.

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