Occupy Oakland once rallied behind the name and face of Scott Olsen, the Iraq War veteran who was injured during clashes between protesters and police. But who is rallying behind the name and face of Peter Cukor, the Berkeley man whose call to police went unheeded – since all officers were on standby for potential violence at another Occupy march?
According to news reports, Mr. Cukor called the police to report a man who was in his garage at his Berkeley home. Deemed not to be a violent crime in progress, the police were not dispatched. All available officers were on standby for a potential deployment to Oakland. Mr. Cukor then walked to an area firehouse, but found it vacant as its engine and fire fighters were out on another call. When he returned home, the loitering man allegedly bludgeoned him with a heavy potted plant.
His wife then placed a call to 911 to report the assault. Police arrived four minutes later, and arrested the attacker. However, Mr. Cukor died at an Oakland hospital.
In the past, I’ve written that the Occupy movement, particularly the subverted form its assumed in Oakland, needs to end for the sake of local government. But it is more than that – what is bad for local government is bad for the law-abiding residents served by local governments.
Yes, the police should have either staffed up or reassessed how they would deploy their personnel. Yes, Mr. Cukor could have called 911 instead of the non-emergency line. And yes, perhaps mental health professionals could have kept his alleged assailant in protective custody instead of allowing a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic with a history of violence and stalking loose on the community.
But under a normal circumstance, having a police officer available to respond to his non-emergency call could have saved Mr. Cukor’s life.
So the combination of a reduced police force and distracted police force and the diversion of resources caused by another of the Occupy marches gave a face and a name to the unintended consequences of Occupy Oakland.
Peter Cukor was 67, was married with had two grown sons.
[Editor's note: The full story of Mr. Cukor's death has been covered by major news outlets across the state. For a thorough summarization, please see this San Francisco Chronicle article.]