In the immediate aftermath of last night’s murder at the Occupy Oakland encampment, Occupiers instantly began issuing denials that the victim and the shooting had anything to do with their protest, in an attempt to spin the story and disassociate the movement from any violence.
Turns out they were wrong — the victim was indeed an Occupier:
The man who was shot to death near the Occupy Oakland camp Thursday had spent a few nights there, his cousin said, as city officials and the police union renewed their calls for the camp to pull up stakes.
Madea Williams, who said she was the shooting victim’s cousin, said he had shared a tent with her at the camp.
Police have not released the man’s name, but said he appeared to be in his 20s. Williams said his first name was Alex.
The man was shot in the head around 5 p.m. outside a BART station exit in Frank Ogawa Plaza, at 14th Street and Broadway. He was taken to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No arrests have been made.
Protesters originally said they did not think the man was associated with their month-old encampment.
In a statement today, the Oakland Police Officers Association said the protesters need to leave their downtown camp “so we can get back to fighting crime in Oakland neighborhoods.”
“Our officers are the 99 percent struggling in Oakland neighborhoods ever day to contain the 1 percent who rob, steal, rape and murder our law-abiding citizens,” the union said. “The Occupy Oakland protest, now 30 days old, is taking our police officers out of Oakland neighborhoods and away from protecting the citizens of Oakland.”
Note also the interesting evolution of the “1%” concept in the police union statement: They redefine “the 1%” not as the wealthy but rather as the street criminals and thugs who ruin things for the rest of Oakland’s law-abiding citizens.
Whether the criminal is Bernie Madoff or a two-bit drug-dealing gang member, I agree with the police union on this one: The real enemies of society are the law-breakers and the peace-disturbers, regardless of how much money they have.
The SFGate article linked above has now been scrubbed and replaced with a new article which tries to backpedal from its original claim. The revised replacement article now says:
Oakland police say they have no reason to believe that a man shot and killed outside the Occupy Oakland encampment had ever spent a night there, despite the claims of a camp resident who said he was her cousin and had slept in her tent.
The victim, who appeared to be in his 20s, was shot in the head about 5 p.m. Thursday outside a BART station exit in Frank Ogawa Plaza, at 14th Street and Broadway. He was taken to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No arrests have been made.
The man’s name has not been released. Although the woman identifying herself as his cousin said he had slept in the camp, several veterans of Occupy Oakland said they didn’t recognize him.
Officer Johnna Watson, an Oakland police spokeswoman, said today that investigators had found no indication the man was connected to Occupy Oakland.
Some city officials said that even if the victim and killer were not part of Occupy Oakland, the encampment is attracting a violent element and needs to go.
I guess eyewitness testimony is no match for the pressure of political spin. If several OWS activists with a strong political motivation to disassociate the crime from their movement insist they don’t know the guy, then that becomes the dominant narrative. But ponder this: if no one even knows the victim’s name or identity, and very few people saw him on the ground before he was carried away, then how they be so sure he wasn’t one of theirs?
Expect the victim’s cousin, who personally shared a tent with the victim at the camp, to suddenly change her story and/or disappear from the scene.
This is how history is molded. One crucial detail at a time.