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#Anon #Newz Judge Sets Stage to Take Over Corrupt Oaklands Troubled Cops

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Published on Mar 10, 2012

#Anon #Newz Judge Sets Stage to Take Over Corrupt Oaklands Troubled Cops
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sn...
After weeks of raucous street demonstrations, Oakland city leaders finally decided one chilly morning last fall to remove a downtown campsite that had become a national symbol of the Occupy movement. Protesters made makeshift gas masks and braced for a fight with the much-maligned Oakland Police Department.

But police cleared the camp without incident. A middle-aged white woman facing the brawny police cordon gave her reason for the calm on a placard she carried: "Judge Thelton Henderson is watching." A veteran federal judge, Henderson has been struggling for nearly 10 years to implement police reforms in the gritty industrial city on California's San Francisco Bay.

Now, five decades after Henderson entered American civil rights lore as a young Department of Justice lawyer who lost his job for lending Martin Luther King Jr. his car, he appears to be laying the groundwork for the first-ever court takeover of an American police department in recent memory.

But it is not as if he supports some of the protesters' methods, either. In an interview with Reuters, he called Occupy a "huge distraction" for the police and criticized demonstrators who lit fires and ransacked City Hall earlier this year.

"Unless they want anarchy or some sort of chaos, it's hard to imagine what their motivation is," Henderson said.

Laleh Behbehanian, a member of Occupy Oakland's Anti-Repression Committee, said incidents of window breaking and violence were vastly overblown by the police, in order to justify excessive force.

Beyond the Occupy movement, Henderson views the Oakland police department as "a force unto itself" that defies civilian management. He has overseen a 2003 legal settlement of a case in which police allegedly planted evidence and beat suspects, and he is getting impatient.

As he contemplates an unprecedented use of judicial power, the 78-year-old judge is coping with a degenerative ailment that has put him in a wheelchair. Lest any city official think this has blunted his determination, though, he made clear he has no plans to back off. "I'm not going away," he said.

'STAGED'

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