Reports of grenade-type devices used in West Oakland raid


A high profile police raid occurred last night in multiple East Bay locations, with most activity centered at the Acorn public housing complex in West Oakland. According to recent news reports, some 150 FBI agents and support staff carried out the raid, along with 120 Oakland police officers and other law enforcement officers from San Leandro, Hayward and Antioch.

OPD Chief Howard Jordan told reporters at a press conference that the raid targeted the Acorn gang of West Oakland, and that officers made five arrests, served 16 narcotics and weapons warrants, and seized firearms, heroin, cocaine and marijuana.  

An official statement attributed to OPD spokesperson Johnna Watson in a Chronicle report suggested that police did not use force during the operation. This suggests OPD does not consider deploying grenade-type devices (considered to be "less lethal weapons") to be “use of force,” because residents living nearby the Acorn housing complex at Eighth and Adeline streets told the Guardian that they heard loud bangs, probably from flash grenades, go off when the operation was underway around 7:30 Wednesday night.

A neighbor who lives nearby the apartment complex, who asked not to be identified, had a partial view of the police activity from their West Oakland residence. The person described the operation as “like a military presence” due to the sheer number of officers, many outfitted in SWAT gear, and “very precise,” targeting a specific address and lasting roughly an hour and 15 minutes. The streets surrounding the apartment complex were closed off for the duration of the raid.

The neighbor estimated that the flash grenades (or similar devices) were used five times, but since the explosions produce echoes, there could have been fewer deployments. The observer wasn’t able to see how they were used because there wasn’t a clear view of the unit, but heard the bangs in sequence. An OPD officer could be heard addressing occupants inside one of the units on a loudspeaker, reading out the address, telling them they were surrounded, and then saying something like, “you in the suit, get down, get down on the ground.”

The neighbor said they observed three people being removed from the unit and taken into custody – a man who was wearing a suit, a person in a motorized wheelchair, and a tall, younger-looking man. The arrestees were cooperative. 

The West Oakland resident also reported seeing an armored vehicle parked at the scene. A host of official OPD vehicles were parked along the street, along with unmarked cars including SUVs and white vans. 

More details about the massive police operation, the targeted gang, and the criminal activity the cops zeroed in on are sure to come out. A lot of outstanding questions remain, of course, including why officers decided to use the grenade-type devices. So far, OPD hasn’t responded to our email or voice message, but we’ll post the department’s response if we receive one.


Flash bangs are used to disorient the bad guys that way less deaths to no deaths will occur.

Posted by on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

flash bangs cause problems for every person within range ... not only police' imaginary 'bad guys'

Posted by wiseoldsnail on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 10:39 am

"Imaginary bad guys"? You really don't know shit about the Acorn gang and how much violence they're responsible for do you? How about you go hang out there for a week and come back and say how misunderstood they are and how the OPD are the real bad guys?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

Well, I guess I am not familiar with the Acorn "gang", but I know lots about police brutality!!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 11:02 am

For normal reasonable people, the cops are just fine.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 11:23 am

Seriously, the cops finally do a big raid in Oaktown and go after some of the allegedly violent people there and you get all worked up over flash bang grenades. They create flight and make noise, no explosives etc. get real and go get some real news.

Posted by D. native on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 9:31 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

The results of flash-bangs, "rubber" bullets, and other "less than lethal" weapons depend for their effects on how they're used by police--OPD in particular. Many very serious injuries were caused in the 2011 and 2012 police actions against Occupy Oakland by OPD aiming directly at protestors--there are people with permant disabilities now, internal organs removed or functioning poorly, from direct shots with rubber bullets (rubber-coated steel) and pellet rounds (bagged steel shot). Scott Olsen narrowly escaped death from being shot directly and purposely by a flash bang..

It might be obvious that the results depend on the intent, but in crowd (large or small) situations it's very difficult to find intent. Serious injury and death is possible, and lethal intent if it's not investigated and dealt with is not going to be stopped.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:51 am

The general public had very little sympathy for them when they got what was coming.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

"when they got what was coming" for what.... using their first amendment right? you disgust me, most of those "vagrants" were fighting for causes that would have not only helped their lives but also yours. But people like you who see 1 false media report singling out the people who don't symbolize a movement just turn the whole thing into nothing but "vagrants". Don't just go read a book read your fucking bill of rights jackass.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:04 am

been invoked at the outset, these camps rapidly degraded into petty crime and public health hazards.

Oh, and trespass isn't a first amendment right - protests are supposed to get a permit and these guys did not.

So, as stated, they were doomed from the outset although, to be quite blunt, they failed more because they gave up and went home, than because of the cops who only intervened in a few cities.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:38 am

a permit. The cops intervened in almost every city in a campaign orchestrated by DHS.

Occupy arrests--7732

2008 Financial Crisis arrests--less than 10.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 9:20 am

The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:16 am

My recollection is that Scott was shot in the face by a beanbag or a dowel, and that a flashbang was used to disperse people trying to administer first aid to him and drag him from the line of fire. His life-threatening injury was not caused by use of a flash bang grenade. Use of that device was reprehensible--and the firing of a "less lethal" round right at his head amounts to attempted murder in my book.

Posted by Webb on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 9:00 am

The result of using these "less-than-lethal" weapons depends entirely on the intent of the police using them. The heavy militarization of police has made it more and more likely that they'll be used with intent to harm. The police responses to Occupy Oakland protests in 2011 and 2012 are clear examples.

Photographers and other non-criminal participants were shot directly with rubber bullets (rubber-coated steel) and pellet rounds (bagged steel shot), ending up with permanent disabilities from seriously injured organs and limbs. Scott Olsen narrowly escaped death by being shot in the head with a flash bang (and a second time when a flash bang was shot directly into the center of people who'd come to his aid ).

The real name--"less-than-lethal"--acknowledges that they can and do a lot of terrible damage. You folks here all totally trust that OPD is going to follow every constitutional and common sense way to make sure they're only, for sure, going after someone only, for sure, who "deserves" extralegal bodily damage?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

Weapons of war do not belong to our society. All these agencies should turn their weapons in at the next buy-back event.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

Until they do, the cops must have bigger and better weapons.

We cannot allow our cops to be outgunned.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:11 pm

our cops do nothing but enforce the laws of our government not our people by saying we cannot allow our cops to be outgunned you are also saying we cannot allow ourselves a chance to stand up against our governments selfish ways.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:06 am

I am not a big supporter of the cops being constrained by "activist" oversight groups so that they are disadvantaged on the streets by having weapons denied to them or effective tactics blocked on grounds of political correctness.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:40 am

Isn't it interesting how the father of manual weapons gun control in the US was Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California and was aghast that the Black Panthers were monitoring the conduct of the OPD by following them armed with rifles to ensure that they were not up to any funny business?

With extraordinary police authority must come extraordinary accountability of the cops to the community. Clearly, matters got much worse in Oakland once the Black Panthers were unable to keep the OPD in line that the OPD had to be taken over by a federal receiver.

One contributing factor to the killing fields that are today's Oakland is the increasing bankruptcy and corruption of the OPD from the days that Reagan banned open carry to the present.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 7:28 am

cop-killing Black Panthers were a force for justice AND that any excess of OPD are anything other than a rational reaction to an out-of-control criminal populace.

Public safety takes 75% of Oakland's budget and there is a very good reason for that. It is virtually lawless.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:01 am

... and is it too much to ask that you don't just spout a bunch more of your lies, such as your suggestion that lawlessness accounts for "75% of Oakland's budget"?

Nevermind. TF indeed.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 9:05 am

And yes, police, fire and assorted other public safety expenses are about 75% of Oakland's general fund. It's less in SF.,

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:19 am

Dude, you;re wasting your time (as am I). The Panthers killed several police officers, for example, Oakland Patrolman John Frey on October 28, 1967.

The reason that you are wasting your time is that Lilli lives in a strange world where reality shifts to suit his purposes. He has no problem denying whatever facts don't concur with the voices that he hears in his head.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 11:04 am

"... lives in a strange world where reality shifts to suit his purposes."

Troll's assessment is perfectly self-referential.

A citation showing one officer's killing does not make the accusation that there were several such killings more true.

There was an environment of violence between cops and blacks which predated the existence Black Panthers; any violence that individual panther member were involved in must be understood in that context. Don't forget the racism and economic exclusion, redlining, of the time; and J.Edgar Hoover.

The Panthers' track record in promoting social and economic development overshadows events of violence to such a tremendous degree that nobody -- *reasonable* -- can begin to refer to the organization as being made up of "cop killers"; that would have been as if anti-Vietnam activists accused all returning American servicemen for being "baby killers"... just because of a few bad apples at My Lai, etc.

Also, it has got to be remembered that Huey Newton had the charge of manslaughter dropped after it was shown that the judge had made an error prejudicial against him in the trial.

All these complex things which lying trolls would like to obscure by trotting out few zingers ... then followed with a mountain of non sequitur bullshit vvvvvvvvvv:

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

The Occupy activists were very brave to keep their activist stance against the banks and top corporate thieves. The government is turning our country into more and more of a police state. Fine if they want to apprehend drug dealing suspects, but this sounds like an assault on a whole poor community. A drug dealing gang isn't going to have a shootout with over a hundred fully armored SWAT officers.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

bunch of people who don't take showers.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

says the person whos probably getting more fucked by the governments stupid ass laws than most of the occupy activists and doesn't even know it

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:08 am

Occupy has made zero difference to anything, which is why it fizzled out as soon as it got cold and wet.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:41 am