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Occupy Riverside claims police brutality

November 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A tent taken down by police Sunday afternoon turned the Occupy Riverside protest into melee, resulting in the arrest of 11 demonstrators.

The group is accusing the Riverside Police Department of brutality. They said they were staying put at a tent they call the people's kitchen, which is where they serve meals.

But Police Chief Sergio Diaz says his officers acted appropriately and he has the video posted on the group's website.

"What I've seen is videos that talk about police brutality, but what they depict is officers very calmly doing their job," Diaz said.

The chief says his department is not stepping on anyone's right to free speech, but they must draw the line at the sea of tents that had stretched across the public walkway in violation of the city's ordinance.

"Sunday's event was not about displacing anybody from the Main Street mall," Diaz said. "We're absolutely committed to people's right to dialogue, to petition for grievances, to have signs, to get on a stump and talk."

During Tuesday's City Council meeting, Occupy members spoke out against the alleged brutality.

Several of the speakers issued a people's citation, charging City Council members and the police department with their own list of violations.

Protesters said they will continue to hold their ground and fight for their rights.

"We've been effected by unemployment, we've been effected by the housing crisis, we're effected by the policies that the 1 percent impose on us. We are taking a stand here because this is where we are," demonstrator Benjamin Wood said.


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