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Meet the Oakland Developer Who Used a Shotgun to 'Discourage' Occupy Rioters


"I just racked it, and they ran."

Although some businesses have been targeted and vandalized by Occupy Oakland protesters, there is at least one businessman who refuses to be intimidated.

Phil Tagami is a well-known Oakland developer. Late Wednesday night, instead of going over paperwork or brokering deals, he was forced to defend a downtown building where he personally oversaw $50 million worth of renovations.

He also has an office there.

"We had people who attempted to break into our building," the landmark Rotunda Building on Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, Tagami said. According to comments he made to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tagami grabbed a shotgun that he usually keeps at home, went down to the ground floor and "discouraged them."

Although they didn't get inside the building, vandals did scrawl graffiti on the outside walls during the post-midnight riot that broke out after Occupy Oakland's daylong general strike, writes the Chronicle.

"I was standing there and they saw me there, and I lifted it - I didn't point it - I just held it in my hands," Tagami said. "And I just racked it, and they ran."

The Rotunda Building wasn't the only business targeted by the protesters.

"Graffiti was spray-painted on many buildings along Broadway from 14th to 16th streets. Masked vandals shattered windows, started fires and threw objects at police, including lit flares and powerful M-1000 firecrackers," reports the Chronicle.

When the riots subsided, Oakland business owners started cleaning up the damage. Owners of Tully's Coffee shop boarded up shattered windows. The owners of Genji, a Japanese restaurant in the City Hall plaza, spent their morning scrubbing graffiti from the facade of their business. Rite Aid and Walgreens drugstores were also tagged by protesters.

Rachel Konte, owner of Oakllectiv, said her designer clothing shop had its plate glass window smashed and hundreds of dollars of T-shirts stolen (despite the fact that, according to Konte, some protesters attempted to protect her store), writes the Chronicle.

The city estimates that it will cost up to $25,000 to replace broken windows at city buildings.

Of course, Mayor Jean Quan called the rioters "a small and isolated group."

"It shouldn't mar the overall impact of the demonstration and the fact that people in the 99 percent movement demonstrated peacefully and, for the most part, were productive and very peaceful," Quan said.

Tagami wholeheartedly disagreed, saying that Occupy Oakland protest is "basically concealment and cover for anarchists who are doing this to our city."

"We're very concerned that a group of people can be allowed to do this type of destruction to our town and to our image without any repercussions," Tagami said. "They need to be held accountable." He rejected assertions that the anarchists were a small minority, saying, "No, you can't have it both ways."

Tagami added, "I support a peaceful protest. But it was a siege situation last night, and quite frankly, I'm glad we were here. But I never want to have to do that again."

On a side note, guess what happened to at least one business, Men's Wearhouse, that pledged its support for the "99%?"

It didn’t escape destruction either.

"Windows at the Men's Wearhouse, which closed Wednesday and put up signs of support, were shattered," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

(h/t San Francisco Chronicle)

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