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Oakland's Police Chief Takes Responsibility for Clash With Protesters But Defends Officers Use of Force


Oakland's police chief says officers used what they believed to be the least amount of force possible to protect themselves during a clash with anti-Wall Street protesters.

Oakland police Interim Chief Howard Jordan said in a statement Friday that he takes full responsibility for the actions of his officers, and ensured that allegations of misconduct and excessive use of force during Tuesday's confrontation are being thoroughly investigated.

Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull Tuesday night during the clash. He is in fair condition Friday morning at Highland Hospital in Oakland. Protesters claimed police shot rubber bullets and bean bags at the crowd Tuesday, and photos of Olsen taken when he was first injured appear to show flashbangs may have been used. Olsen's injuries have been used as a rallying cry for 'Occupy' protesters across the country.

Jordan says he and city staff have reached out to Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, as many have re-established their camp outside Oakland's City Hall on Friday. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has already unsuccessfully tried to apologize to protesters for police raids last Tuesday, first by online video and then in person Thursday night where SF Gate reports that the Mayor was booed off stage.

Jordan made a visit to Olsen in the hospital on Friday. "I expressed my sorrow for what happened to their son," Jordan said at a City Hall news conference. "They were very receptive. ... I also expressed to them the process that's involved in terms of this incident, in terms of a full review and internal investigation."

The San Jose Mercury News reported Friday that Michael Moore addressed about 1,000 anti-Wall Street protesters in front of Oakland's City Hall, saying the Occupy movement has changed the national discussion. The Mercury News also notes that Oakland protesters announced a general strike on Nov. 2 where they will be urging banks and corporations to close for the day.

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