The following is testimony given to Oakland City Council, April 8.

I am Steve Stallone, ILWU Communications Director. I am here representing the ILWU International officers and I am here to register our dismay and anger at the conduct of the Oakland Police Dept. yesterday. We are disturbed by their complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of the demonstrators. We are shocked by their use of excessive force and their militaristic response to legitimate non-violent protest. And we are angry at the way nine of our members were shot and injured while simply trying to report to their jobs, and the way one of our Business Agents on the scene, clearly identified as a union official and doing his job trying to protect his members headed to work, was thrown to the ground, handcuffed, arrested and held in custody for 18 hours.

In The New York Times April 8 edition Chief Word was quoted as saying the police dispersed the crowd at the behest of the terminal operators APL and SSA. What kind of chilling message does this send ILWU members, when the police open fire on them under orders from our employers who locked us out in a bitter contract struggle just months ago. Our union was founded on the blood of workers shot and killed by police. We did not tolerate such actions in 1934 and we sure as hell will not tolerate it in 2003.

We demand justice. We demand accountability. We demand that the city conduct an independent and thorough investigation into the events of April 7. No internal investigation will be credible.

From this investigation we want answers. We want to know:

Who decided the police should arrive at this demonstration in full riot gear, wearing gas masks and why?

Who decided the police should be armed to the teeth with these dangerous munitions?

Who gave the order to fire unprovoked and indiscriminately into the crowd of demonstrators, longshore workers and truckers?

Why was an ILWU union official targeted for arrest, brutalized and incarcerated?