Occupy San Jose Persists Despite Arrests

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from the original version. Occupy San Jose protestors did not relocate from City Hall to St. James Park.

The standoff between Occupy San Jose protestors and City Hall resulted in the arrest of eight people early Friday morning. In response, protestors have vowed to continue airing their grievances with the nation’s financial inequalities.

“Occupy San Jose still has a representative. We’re still out here. You can arrest us but you cannot kill the movement,” says Daniel McCormick, a San Jose State political science major and occupation member. McCormick said he learned of the arrests and brought a new tent to City Hall on Friday in an effort to keep the movement going.

“They say if we put the tent on the ground we’re camping,” McCormick says. “We say it is a symbol of free speech.”

The arrests Friday morning came after a meeting between City Manager Debra Figone and Police Chief Chris Moore. Figone expressed concerns about the health and safety issues associated with the encampment, according to the police chief.

“It got to the point where people were defecating and there’s a lot of trash and rats,” Moore says. “We gave folks a choice to leave this morning and those who did left. Those who didn’t were arrested.”

According to one occupier who declined to give his full name, 12 patrol cars and two paddy wagons arrived around 3am Friday morning. Protestors outside of City Hall were told they were on private property and couldn’t occupy the plaza with the 12 tents they had. An officer then reportedly found marijuana that belonged to one of the protestors, and occupiers were told police had probable cause to search tents.

One protestor who appeared to be intoxicated allegedly scratched a patrol car and was arrested for felony vandalism.

“My understanding is everyone pretty much was cooperative,” Moore says.

Shaian Mohammadi, an organizer of the leaderless protests, says those who received citations for trespassing have been released, but the occupier who was cited with a felony is still in jail.

Several occupation members said they would temporarily to move St. James Park, but the group chose to stay at City Hall. Police said it doesn’t matter where camp is set up if it is on city property.

“The camping ordinance still applies,” Moore says. “They could apply for a permit (at St. James) but I don’t think they would get it based on previous history.”


  1. “…12 patrol cars and two paddy wagons arrived around 3am Friday morning.”

    The word “paddy” has long been associated with an anti-Irish bias, and is to be deprecated as a label that is reserved for Irish to Irish use if at all, and never for use as a label for police vans used to transport prisoners.

    It is unfortunate that this term should be bandied about with at least some negative fallout on members of the Irish-American community in San Jose, and a bad example when so very much sensitivity is demanded of Irish-Americans toward everyone else.

    • “The word “paddy” has long been associated with anti-Irish bias.”

      I see your point but I disagree that there’s any need to restrict our vocabulary as you suggest.
      While “paddy” at one time had racial connotations, the term “paddy wagon” as used today has long since shed that negative association among 99% of users of the phrase.
      In these matters of racial slurs it seems to me the factor defining whether or not somebody should take offense is whether the utterer of the phrase INTENDED it as a slur. In a conversation the listener shares equal responsibility with the talker. There’s an obligation upon all of us to make an effort to understand what somebody is meaning to say and to resist the temptation to play the victim card, taking offense where none was intended.
      Lord knows we already have enough restrictions on our thoughts and actions. Let’s not needlessly inflict ourselves with any more.

    • Hi John Galt,

      Paddy is is not a racial matter.  Paddy comes under the category of national origin bias.  And it was urged for usage by the State Department of Education in Sacramento in 1989 as the way to describe Irish immigrant workers on the transcontinental railroad in the immediate post-Civil War era.

      But I think your larger point is that a label that would be derogatory in San Jose 150 years ago may very well have lost its capacity to dismay or stereotype.  Thus, this challenge—can you list three terms considered demeaning in San Jose 150 years ago toward national origin groups, one each from Africa, Latin America, and Asia that you would claim to be similarly stripped of its detrimental and divisive meaning by the passage of time?

    • You rightly pointed out the distinction between racial bias and national origin bias. But although “paddy wagon” may have originated from national origin bias, it is allowed to persist because of racial bias- reverse racial bias to be more precise. In today’s PC controlled public discourse it’s OK to use terms that may negatively stereotype people of a particular national origin, but only if those countries are predominantly white. Otherwise such terms are considered ‘slurs’ and are banished from the lexicon.
      The term “coolie hat” is a pretty close parallel to “paddy wagon”. But try casually dropping “coolie hat” into a conversation in mixed company and you’ll soon find yourself alone in a room.
      So no. I failed to meet your challenge. But all that shows is that we have an inequitable situation and I think we both already knew that. So to even the score we can either cave in to the PC zealots and play their reprehensible games or we can take the high road and allow words to mean what we know they mean. If we respect the English language we should consistently resist the demands of those who would have it devolve into some sanitized, obfuscatory version of Orwellian ‘Newspeak’.
      If you’re talking about a vehicle used by the police to transport arrestees to jail it’s OK to say “paddy wagon”. If you want to save some of your money on a dinner date then go ahead and say “let’s go Dutch”. If you’re describing a person who snuck into this country across our southern border then call him a “wetback”. If somebody stiffed you on a wager don’t let anybody shame you into believing you’re committing a ‘thought crime’ by thinking he “welched on a bet”. None of these phrases are slurs unless they are meant as slurs.

  2. Sums it up who runs the police department,

    Posted by POA

    It should come as no surprise to anyone that we received a rejection to our pension proposal in the form of a counter offer from the City today.  We were told that our offer was rejected because it did not provide a sufficient reduction in the cost of benefits. They also said that the CalPERS route would take too long to implement.
    They have made it very clear that they are intent on having a special election in March of 2012.

    • Quit posting this nonsense.  CalPERS hadn’t even approved it and didn’t even show up for the first meeting.  This was a dim witted attempt by an failing organization.  Sorry to say it.  Nobody cares about your POA except your paid consultants. How much do you pay these people?  Whew better get a refund.

  3. Although I support the conceptual idea of the “occupay movement,” those at City Hall were mostly burdening chuds, and not true victims of corporate greed. In other words; they were anarchists.

    • Oh, really?  And, you know this how?  Oh, right.  You don’t know, obviously as you are quite wrong.  So many assumptions to quash, so little time….

      They are, for the most part, college educated.  I am sure all would thank you for the lovely labels.  None that I have met are either stupid,(they know how to spell ‘occupy, for starters) or ugly, but your assumptions are.  I seriously doubt that many, if any are anarchists, either. 

      People need to get their facts straight before slinging mud.

    • Have you actually met any of the Occupiers.  They are for the most part well educated. I do not thing you should speak until you have paid your dues and spent a little time at the occupy site.  I know for a fact that I am not an unemployed CHUD.  So don’t go slinging mud.

      • I have spent time both at the SJ occupy site and I am now watching the Chicago occupy movement in action.  Yes, there are people who are normal folks with a legitimate axe to grind.  But they are interspersed with anarchists, socialists and communists.  The parade of speakers has included those advocating the collapse of the American government, the prosecution of all of our dedicated military personnel who have served in the Middle East, the vilification of all public safety members across the board, those proposing the complete redistribution of all wealth and the list of leftist radicals goes on.  Nobody disputes that there are some good arguments being made at these rallies.  But, when they are standing in solidarity with radical fringe elements of society their message is lost or distorted.  And when those with a valuable message defend the group as a whole, then you are going to be painted with the same brush.

  4. “The arrests Friday morning came after a meeting between City Manager Debra Figone and Police Chief Chris Moore.”

    Two unelected officials (one actually when you consider that Moore reports to Figone) made a questionable decision to break up a lawful, peaceful protest and expose the city to yet another lawsuit. If they had just waited a few weeks for the cold and rain, the perceived “problem” would likely have gone away! Nice work, Deb.

    Is ANYBODY happy with San Jose’s direction under Figone’s management?

  5. this is the city response to the unions trying to settle the layoffs of city employees.  The city wants blood and could care less what the employees offer.

    Chuckie and Deb could care less, God help us all, this city is going down!

    “It should come as no surprise to anyone that we received a rejection to our pension proposal in the form of a counter offer from the City today.

    We were told that our offer was rejected because it did not provide a sufficient reduction in the cost of benefits. They also said that the CalPERS route would take too long to implement.

    They have made it very clear that they are intent on having a special election in March of 2012.”

    I encourage all voters to view what the city is asking and get educated instead of drinking the poisoned water the city wants you to believe.

    Our quality of life is going down the toilet.

      • There was NO counter offer-they said the figures we gave were not completely accurate and that there wasn’t enough time to research it-they want it to go to a ballot vote-it is their way ONLY and they do not want to bargain. We offered a 3 tier system that would save the city almost 500 MILLION dollars by going into another retirement system so the city wouldn’t have to pay for ours. Funny thing is-the council is in the same one we want to go in but I guess we are not good enough for it. The new plan the city wants would lower our take home pay by over 1/2-no one (and that is not an exaggeration) would be able to afford their homes and actually, would be hard pressed to even be able to afford an apartment in this city. Thanks for your question.

    • AND when was the last time you put your life on the line?  How dare you compare what you make for a living, (perhaps you get to sit in front of a computer) with the salary of someone that has to deal with mentally ill, drunk and irate people all of the time.  When did you last go into a burning building.  There is absolutely no comparison to any other kind of job, so they deserve more money.

    • The average Silicon Valley income is $84k. Police Officer/Firefighter salaries range from $80-100k, of which up to 25% is automatically placed into the pension system.  They cannot opt out of the retirement system, and cannot draw full Social Security benefits (Windfall Act).

      You sound like a plant for Reed/Figone, with your lies. 2 times the average would be $168k and 3 times would be $252k… the only ones making that are the Administrators. I do think the Captains, Chiefs, Mayor, City Manager, City Council and many more SJ executives need pay cuts though! They are the only ones making 2-3 times the average income, not police officers and firefighters.

  6. Occupy Wall Street is misguided.  Why would they camp out in St. James Park?  This Park is the farthest from what they are protesting.  Homeless and Drug Dealers.. What does this have to do with Wall Street?  Why don’t they go to where the problem is?  Go camp in Saratoga or Los Gatos…

  7. It is kinda funny that the OWS local chapter ended up in St. James Park, the official homeless hangout/preserve.

    As far as the enforcement crack down, it doesn’t pay to be poor in this town (or many other places) and unless your politically connected and have powerful friends, your access to public property for political protests is gonna involve painfull forms, permits, regulations and rulings that will force you to pay for police, sanitation and all the rest – which at the end of the day means poor people cannot have access to first amendment rights because of unreasonable restrictions placed on their ability to exercise them in a public space.

    I might suggest getting some “Change” and Obama 2012 posters and signs and inviting mainstream support to legitimize the protest.  Furthermore, focus on criticizing just Republicans and you can re-energize the movement and have all the local pols out with you singing “we shall overcome”.

    Reminds me a little of the old Frank Capra movie “Meet John Doe” where he holds up his fist and they take a photo with the caption “I protest!”

  8. are you still to busy to answer your 10 simple questions or are you hoping the longer you delay the sooner we will forget.  We know you answer to only one boss and she is probably telling you to keep your mouth shut, and continue to lower the morale of the few officers you have left.

    Keep up the great work!

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