A representative from the Oakland PD has confirmed the city is considering a ban on the use of tools of violence at protests.
This comes after widespread vandalism seen after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Windows were smashed, fires were started in the streets, and buildings were defaced.
The ordinance is being proposed by Councilman Noel Gallo. The Oakland PD is expected to fully support the measure. Prohibiting angry protesters from carrying baseball bats, hammers and wrenches will help improve safety.
The recent incident is believed to have caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage. One local waiter was reportedly struck in the face with a hammer. Medical personnel has not released his name. They are also not commenting on the scope of his injuries.
Many see the proposal as a way to help members of the Oakland PD keep the peace. It will give them an additional too to help do their job. Elected officials agree that these types of recently seen violence need to be stopped. These outbursts place everyone at risk. It also has a negative impact on local businesses.
Instead of addressing it after the fact it may be more helpful to prevent it before it starts.
The ACLU said they believe the current ordinance is constitutional. They do not feel that it violates anyone’s right to free speech. This is not to say they are without concern. During times of protest, more people are harmed by police than vice versa, they said.
One ACLU spokesperson has reportedly pointed out that residents have often carried shields during protests as a means of protecting themselves from police violence.
It is unclear when the City Council will make their final determination. The Oakland PD will enforce whatever decision is made.