Councilmember Noel Gallo’s ordinance prohibiting demonstrators from carrying “tools of violence” went through final passage at Tuesday night’s Oakland City Council meeting, effectively banning items such as hammers, shields and knives from protests.
The ordinance was brought up again before the council in light of the protests against George Zimmerman’s acquittal this summer in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida; specifically, after Drew Cribley, a waiter at Flora, was struck in the head with a hammer during the protests.
“Hammer” was specifically added to the ordinance.
Three speakers from the community were scheduled to share opinions on the topic, but only one came before the council.
Referred to simply as “Elle,” she insisted the councilmembers lacked caring.
“You guys don’t care about the right to free expression. You don’t care about the right against unlawful search and seizure. You don’t care that people are carrying shields because OPD almost killed a veteran at a peaceful demonstration. You don’t care,” Elle said.
“You guys would rather criminalize dissent than pay attention to why people are protesting in the first place,” she added. “And that basically means that you’re just complete failures as representatives of your community.”
The council listened in silence. Elle’s time ended with scattered applause from a couple attendees.
The amended ordinance passed with six ‘Ayes.’ Dan Kalb, councilmember for District One, abstained from the vote.