Racial diversity kills at “Occupy Oakland”
Nov 23rd, 2011 by Unamused
Previously in our series on race and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement:
- “Is racial diversity ruining ‘Occupy Wall Street’?”
- “Is racial diversity ruining ‘Occupy Wall Street’ in Canada, too?”
- “Racial diversity continues to ruin ‘Occupy Wall Street'”
- “‘Occupy Wall Street’ serial rapist is black; few surprised”
By October 20, the last time we checked in with Occupy Oakland, the tent camp had already “degenerated into a Lord of the Flies re-enactment, infested with ‘bullies, the mentally ill, drunks, thugs and anarchists'” (Big Journalism, quoting the Oakland Tribune).
Violent crime — including assaults against women — is accompanied at Occupy Oakland by drug dealing, child endangerment, and frequent fights among tent camp residents and passersby.
Let us set aside (MercuryNews) the “fights, reports of sexual assaults, rat infestations and other unsafe and unhealthy conditions at the camp, which started on Oct. 10, was torn down by police on Oct. 25” — took them long enough — “and then rebuilt a day later” — damnit! Set aside, too, the “activist” (I believe “thug” is the proper term) who set his dog on a reporter “in a vicious attack that would have maimed his arm had the reporter not been wearing a suit jacket” (Big Journalism). We restrict our attention to the unknown Occupier who accosted a white woman reporter, declaring — and I’ll take his word for it — “We shoot white bitches like you around here.”
“Well,” you may have reluctantly conceded upon hearing this news, “that does seem pretty bad. But look on the bright side: at least Occupy Oakland can’t get any worse!” In that case, you must have assumed that the unique challenges so frequently associated with racial diversity — notably including murderous, misogynistic anti-white racism — had run their course, and now the camp (rats and all) would finally receive the blessings of that diversity, which we are so often told is not merely a strength, but our nation’s greatest strength.
If so, I have a surprise for you.
The least surprising surprise in the history of surprises
On November 10, just one month after it began, Occupy Oakland had its first murder (ABC).
The shooting happened just before 5 p.m. as ABC7’s Laura Anthony was preparing for her liveshot. She was only a few hundred feet from where the gunshots rang out. It happened near the BART entrance at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Paramedics tried to revive the victim, but he ended up dying from his injuries.
It must be said: Number of murders at Tea Party rallies since 2009: zero. On the other hand, as Hot Air notes, this was not the only fatal shooting at an Occupy protest… that night (Burlington Free Press). But never mind that.
ABC describes the prelude to the Oakland shooting.
“We had seen like a scuffle between two people and they kept going back and forth yelling at each other and then he left that way and then right when we coming back, then that’s when all this started happening,” said witness Jonathan Shatswell.
KTVU has more on that little (slightly fatal) scuffle.
Police Chief Howard Jordan said a preliminary investigation suggests the shooting resulted from a fight between two groups of men at or near the Occupy Oakland camp on a plaza in front of City Hall. During the altercation, one of the men pulled out a gun and fired several rounds into a crowd on the plaza’s edge, Jordan said.
One of the bullets struck the victim, who was pronounced dead at a hospital, he said.
John Lucas, 52, was part of an Occupy Oakland medic [“medic”] team that tried to tend to the man until [real] paramedics arrived. He said a fistfight involving several men preceded the gunfire.
“Several people went after one guy, and the group got larger, and they beat him and he ran,” Lucas said. “There were six or seven shots. Everyone starts running … and there was another shot.”
So: a scuffle and some yelling ends in a wild, fatal shooting — did anyone else just think of a phrase that rhymes with “clack people”? How about “Bafrican-Americans”? (You racist, you.)
Yes, in an entirely unsurprising turn of events, the murderers were black (MercuryNews). So was their victim (NPR). What actually is (slightly) surprising is the behavior of the so-called Occutards after the shooting.
“Thugs” doesn’t even begin to cover it
They start by beating up a photographer (ABC).
Officers looked for the gunman inside the BART station, but couldn’t find him. Police and protesters say neither he, nor the victim, were part of Occupy Oakland, the encampment that started forming at the plaza one month ago. But some members of the movement became hostile to the media trying to document the scene. In fact, ABC7 photographer Randy Davis got punched several times in the head.
Again, it must be said: Number of photographers punched several times in the head at Tea Party rallies: zero.
KTVU’s original “breaking news” report, before it was thoroughly censored, noted that “[protesters] surrounded the scene of the shooting and made a human chain to keep photographers from filming the victim” (PJ Media). The whole truth is much worse (NBC).
[NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez] reported that two Bay Area photographers covering the story were injured in the melee that followed the shooting. One of the photographers worked at KGO and suffered a cut to his head. He was apparently attacked by members of the occupy movement who did not want him to videotape the victim. The second photographer who was hurt was from KTVU. Witnesses said Occupiers wrestled him to the ground.
Aimee Allison was a witness to the protesters’ despicable behavior, in the worst possible way (SF Gate).
Here’s the video I took before a man in the crowd attacked me as I attempted to take a photo. He threw my cell phone camera some 20 feet away. Another in the crowd returned the phone.
A few feet away a TV cameraman was shooting footage and a crowd of twenty or so men attacked and punched him, forcing him over the railing of the 14th Street BART Station.
Look at all the wonderful diversity in that video! She goes on (SF Gate):
I screamed for someone to call 9-1-1, but was unable to get close to the injured man. At this point, there were still no visible police or medics on the scene. A few people formed a blockade around Alex and demanded that no one take photos. …
Despite the warnings, I took out my phone to video the event. Suddenly, three men surrounded me, shoved and punched me to the ground. One of the men grabbed my phone and threw it down on the paving stones. I would describe him as being 5’8″, dark-skinned man [no kidding] with short hair. After shoving me, he turned to KGO-TV cameraman Randy Davis, joining a group of twenty others [“dark-skinned” as well, perhaps?] attacking him and forcing him over the railing of the 14th Street BART station. In the melee, my driver’s license and credit card were lost.
After punching the ABC photographer, wrestling the KTVU photographer to the ground, attacking the KGO cameraman and forcing him over the railing of the train station, beating up Aimee Allison, and arguably interfering with the medical treatment of the victim (number of… at Tea Party rallies: duh), the protesters were quick to distance themselves from the victim (NBC, MercuryNews).
Makes sense. After all, they don’t want anyone making them look bad.
“The person on the ground was not part of the occupation. I can verify that,” Shake Anderson, an Occupy Oakland organizer told AP. “This is a street incident. It happens all the time.”
“The only Occupy Oakland relationship here is that our medics [“medics”] were the first to arrive on the scene,” said Verucha Peller, an activist who has been around the camp since the beginning.
That turned out to be a fib — no, not that blacks shoot each other “all the time” in Oakland. That’s completely true (see below). I mean that the victim, 25-year-old Kayode Ola Foster, “was not part of the occupation.” In fact, not only has Foster’s family has confirmed to the police “that Foster had recently been staying at Frank Ogawa Plaza,” we also know that one of the suspects was “a ‘frequent resident’ at the camp for several days before the shooting” (LA Times).
The silver lining
Police in Oakland, a hot spot of anti-Wall Street activism in recent weeks, swept away the last of the city’s protest camps early on Monday…
Police moved in at about 12:30 a.m. local time and ordered the removal of 20 to 30 tents that had been pitched in Snow Park, the only remaining Oakland camp still standing after another park and an adjacent vacant lot were cleared on Sunday.
“We made the announcement asking people to leave, and they did, and they packed up their tents and left,” Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. “There were no arrests and no fights.”
“As we speak, there are no tents and no camps,” she added. “We are enforcing no camps and no camping equipment anywhere in the parks. And that will be enforced throughout the city.”
Well, it’s about damn time.
Race and murder in Oakland
Until 2009, the Urban Strategies Council, in cooperation with the Oakland Police Department, published an annual report on homicides in the city of Oakland (urbanstrategies.org). 2006 is the most recent year for which the “Oakland Homicide Report” includes the racial distribution of murder suspects. Since then, a suspect has been identified in so few homicides that, according to the Council, “the findings cannot accurately portray the characteristics of suspects and may lead to false assumptions about certain groups,” though the homicide rate has been consistently high (2008 Oakland Homicide Report).
We approximate the racial demographics of Oakland from 2003–2007 by the best available census data, which is for 2005–2009, when the highly diverse city’s population was an estimated 27% (non-Hispanic) white alone, 28% (non-Hispanic) black alone, 25% Hispanic (“of any race,” but 79% are Mexican or Puerto Rican), and 15% (non-Hispanic) Asian alone (Census Bureau). 96% identified as only one race. Excluding the other 4.0%, there were approximately 1.068 times as many (non-Hispanic) blacks as whites in Oakland from 2005–2009, and hence from 2003–2007 as well.
There were 114 homicides in Oakland in 2003 (2006 Oakland Homicide Report). In 70% of cases (80/114), the suspect’s race was known. In 79% of those cases (63/114), the suspect was black. The suspect was Hispanic in 16% (13/114), so blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 95% of homicide suspects of known race. One of the remaining suspects was white, and the other three were Asian.
There were 88 homicides in Oakland in 2004. In 86% of cases (76/88), the suspect’s race was known. In 86% of those cases (65/88), the suspect was black. The suspect was Hispanic in 8% (7/88), so again blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 95% of homicide suspects of known race. Two of the remaining suspects were white, one was Asian, and one was Amerindian (“Native American”).
There were 94 homicides in Oakland in 2005. In 81% of cases (76/94), the suspect’s race was known. In 76% of those cases (58/76), the suspect was black. The suspect was Hispanic in 17% (13/76), so blacks and Hispanics together accounted for only 93% of homicide suspects of known race. All five of the remaining suspects were Asian.
There were 148 homicides in Oakland in 2006. In only 39% of cases (58/148), the suspect’s race was known. In 67% of those cases (39/58), the suspect was black. The suspect was Hispanic in 28% (16/58), so once again blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 95% of homicide suspects of known race. Two of the remaining suspects were white, and one was Asian.
There were 127 homicides in Oakland in 2007. In only 36% of cases (46/127), the suspect’s race was known. In 85% of those cases (39/46), the suspect was black. The suspect was Hispanic in 11% (5/46), so blacks and Hispanics together accounted for a record 96% of homicide suspects of known race. The two remaining suspects were white.
In total, there were 753 homicides in Oakland from 2003–2007. In 45% of cases (336/753), the suspect’s race was known. In 79% of those cases (264/336), the suspect was black. The suspect was Hispanic in 16% (54/336), so blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 95% of homicide suspects of known race, a highly consistent figure. Whites accounted for 2% (7/336), and Asians 3% (10/336).
We see no apparent reason why homicide suspects of known race should not be representative of actual murderers, so using our estimated black:white ratio of 1.068, we conclude that in Oakland, blacks are approximately 35 times as likely to commit murder as whites. Unfortunately, due to a high margin of error caused by the very low number of white homicide suspects, this figure is really nothing more than a rough guideline for Oakland visitors and residents who prefer not to be gunned down in the street.
It is worth noting that in 2003, 54% of known suspects were already on parole and/or probation; in 2004, 41%; in 2005, 51%; in 2006, 68%; and in 2007, 43%. In total, there were 226 known homicide suspects in Oakland from 2003–2007, and 46% of them (105/226) were already on parole and/or probation.