By Steven Tavares.
Two members of the Alameda Renters Coalition were arrested Wednesday during a tense Alameda City Council on rising rents. One yet to be identified renter, was pulled by police from the entrance of the packed council chambers, dragged down a hallway and slammed to the ground. His face bloodied in the process.
Members of the renters group became upset after being unable to gain access to the chambers, which were filled nearly 45 minutes before the 6 p.m. special meeting. The group asserted landlords and their surrogates purposefully filled the chambers in a move to push renters to televisions set up near the front door of City Hall. Residents could also view the meeting in a room set up in the city library across the street.
But, after over an hour of public speakers, mostly advocating a pro-landlord position, members of the renters group filled the narrow hallway outside the chamber’s doors and began chanting in favor of a 65-day moratorium on rent increases and evictions in Alameda. Some began stomping, while others pounded their fists on a table and pillars.
Inside the meeting, according to witnesses, Alameda Public Works Director Bob Haun attempted to keep the throng outside. He was then injured in the process. Haun’s left hand was bloodied and a witness heard he complained of an injury to his hip. Meanwhile, outside, as the tussle continued, two police officers shuffled up the stairs, through the throng and forcefully grabbed one of the renters, who did not immediately submit.
The officer then swung the man, who appeared to be in his 60s, and sweeped him against a row of renters standing against a wall. At the end of the arc, the officer then slammed the man face-first to the ground. Blood could be seen while he was being subdued. Once brought to standing position by police, a large smear of blood was revealed. Witnesses later say the man had a large cut above one of his eyes.
John Klein, the other person arrested in the altercation, is a member of the Alameda Renters Coalition steering committee and member of the Oakland Privacy Group. Klein appeared calm after being handcuffed. The renters groups says he was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. No word on any charges against the other renter. Haun was in good spirits but left the chambers in a sitting stretcher. The incident caused a nearly 15 minute recess, before resuming with another two hours of