On one level, this letter from the Oakland Police Officers Association to the occupy protestors is pathetic. Police should never beg lawbreakers to do anything, much less allow them to do the job they are being paid for.
But on another level, it is extraordinarily revealing. The cost to cities who are coddling these protestors is real, substantial, and threatens the public safety:
Our police officers are the 99% struggling in Oakland neighborhoods every day to contain the 1% who rob, steal, rape and murder our law-abiding citizens. 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.
In an average city in California, this might not be of emergency proportions for its citizens. Oakland is not an "average" city - we have the highest violent crime rate in California. We are the 5th most violent city in the United States - with more shootings and homicides than any city west of the Mississippi.
Last night's murder, right in the epicenter of Occupy Oakland, is unacceptable. So is the violence being promoted by "renegade" protesters who are lighting firebombs, destroying property and attacking police.
What is even more tragic is that homicides are a frequent occurrence in Oakland. This is the real emergency: Yesterday's murder was Oakland's 101st homicide of 2011. It is time for us to stop directing all of our efforts at policing the small enclave of "Occupy Oakland" and get back to our job of protecting the citizens of Oakland in the neighborhoods where our residents live.
The events of recent weeks have shown that many occupiers at Frank Ogawa Plaza are citizens of other communities with limited interest in preserving the greater good and safety of our City.
Please, we ask you: Leave Frank Ogawa Plaza peacefully and immediately so Oakland Police can get back to work fighting the devastating crime that's occurring in our neighborhoods.
The protestors insist the murder had nothing to do with them and plan on staying. Such willful blindness is evidence that these protestors don't care about the "99%"; all they care about is their own heroic self image.
Before too long, the police are going to be giving them the martyrdom they so desperately seek.