Oakland Occupiers Threaten Violence at City Council Meeting

A three-term member of the Oakland city council named Patricia Kernighan recently proposed an initiative that would ban certain items from public protests. These include shields, hammers, spray paint, and other items that occupiers have used to set fires, break windows, and stage showdowns with police.

On May 22nd, the city council held a meeting at which six different agenda items were discussed. The "tools of violence" ordinance was the last item of discussion. Several dozen protesters demanded the right to speak, and as each person came to the podium, the crowd became more unhinged. The constant theme wasn't the one percent or Wall Street; it was hostility toward the police.

The raucous mood reached a zenith when Jessica Hollie (right) got up to speak. Her meandering rant quickly devolved into a string of expletives which she justified by saying, "I don't have time to curb my language because shit is fucked up and bullshit." Her rage-filled, abusive rant went on for a total of 14 minutes and included derogatory statements about capitalism, America, the flag, the Oakland police department, and the city council itself. When she finally wound up her statement, Hollie said that if the Occupiers' shields (rubber trash cans cut in half) were taken away, "the only thing left is our Second Amendment right! So when we shoot back, I want you to holler, 'Safety!'"

After Hollie's rant, the Occupiers chanted for a couple minutes. Next up, Stephanie Demos (left) came to the podium. Demos took the confrontation with the council to a new level when she suggested to councilwoman Kernighan, "I want to tell you Pat Kernighan that I could walk up to you and kill you with a fucking pencil. Are you going to outlaw pencils?" This brought laughter and a smattering of applause from the Occupiers. Moments later, Demos walked over to another object in the room and said, "I can also kill you with this... but I don't want to kill you. And even if I did want to kill you, you wouldn't know it. Duh! You'd be dead."

Incredibly, this was not the low point of the evening. More than three hours in, after an hour and a half of statements from Occupy members, an Oakland resident named Victor Sauve got up to speak. He stated that he was not an Occupy supporter and that, even as a member of a communist group in his youth, he had never had a bad experience with the Oakland police. This led to chants and catcalls from the occupiers. Councilwoman Kernighan finally lost her composure and told the occupiers to "shut up." They didn't, of course, and this led Mr. Sauve to say that the behavior of the occupiers bordered on "terrorism."

At this point, all hell broke loose. Occupiers began taunting Sauve, and one individual tried to body block him away from the microphone. Seeing that all semblance of order had been lost, Chairwoman Kernighan called the meeting to a close without taking a vote. As council members collected their things, a member of the Occupy group approached Sauve and told him, "You need to get the fuck out. You're not going to make it home." Mr. Sauve and Chairwoman Kernighan were then escorted out of the building by security.

The entire meeting was captured on video here. The real fireworks start at about 2:40:00 with Jessica Hollie's rant. Stephanie Demos' threats begin at 2:58:30. The meeting finally collapses when Mr. Sauve speaks at 3:12:45.

The Occupy movement is dying. What remains are a handful of cranks, anarchists, and frustrated revolutionaries who have little to offer but rage directed at any and all authority figures who cross their path. They demand their constitutionally guaranteed right to speak but then shout down and attempt to intimidate anyone who opposes them, effectively denying others these same rights. As Mr. Sauve tried to explain before he was silenced by the mob, this is not what democracy looks like.


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