Politics

Barbara Lee ‘terrified,’ wants independent investigation into ‘Occupy Oakland’ police response

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Last week, “Morning Joe” regular Donny Deutsch made the bizarre argument that the nationwide “Occupy” protests needed a “Kent State” moment to make it more historically relevant. He doubled down on Friday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, adding that while he didn’t want violence, it may be what’s needed to take the movement to “the next level.”

But California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee suggested that “violence” is coming from law enforcement, not the protesters.

“Well, I was terrified at what took place, in watching at what took place in Oakland, and expressed my outrage and real concern for what has taken place,” Lee replied. “But the protesters are not what is causing this violence. These are peaceful protesters who have a right to petition their government.”

A report from the liberal magazine Mother Jones challenges Lee’s claims that Occupy Oakland was composed entirely of “peaceful protesters.” On “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough asked Lee if there was any validity to that claim, and others, that riled-up protesters provoked the Oakland police.

“Yes, Joe — but I believe also when you look at what took place the reaction was not appropriate for what was taking place,” she said. “They overreacted and it was really a shame and a disgrace. This is a nonviolent movement.”

Watch:

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Lee said she had expressed her concern about the police action to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and encouraged others to be a part of the movement.

“I talked to the mayor and I expressed my outrage and I told her I was going to call for an independent investigation and I think you just saw her response,” she said. “She first of all was quite upset, dismayed. Naturally she supports nonviolent protests — yes, I support the mayor — but let me just say in this instance, this was an overreaction. It should not have happened. She apologized. But I am just saying to everyone this protest movement should be supported, the Occupy movement should be supported.”

Lee said the Oakland Police Department was in the middle of a police chief transition, and that the investigation she wants should proceed since there has been “a history of problems in Oakland as it relates to police brutality.”