Eureka police union: Councilwoman Atkins compromised officer safety

EPD hopes to provide Linda Atkins with new opportunities to discuss protest strategy.

A letter from the Eureka Police Officers Association distributed to city council members Tuesday night states that Councilwoman Linda Atkins endangered officers and members of the public by leaking confidential information about a planned shut-down of the Occupy Eureka encampment.

The Times-Standard said Linda Atkins responded that she didn’t know the information was confidential, and she didn’t leak it. What she did do after receiving sensitive operational information, though, was go to the courthouse encampment, completely out of the blue, to have an informal chat with protesters.

Let’s go to the game film and see how that chat unfolded.

A post on the Humboldt Herald, written the day of the alleged information leak, said information Atkins provided put “Occupy Eureka on alert”:

An email circulating from the group [of protesters] says Eureka City Councilwoman Linda Atkins attended its Wednesday night General Assembly meeting with warnings that EPD will dismantle the camp soon, but an exact date is unknown.

Hank Sims’ Lost Coast Outpost put it this way:

Tom Sebourn is at the scene; he says that Councilmember Linda Atkins is telling demonstrators that the Eureka Police Department going to be moving in soon.

Tom Sebourn’s blog provided more detail:

Right now, Occupy Eureka is in their nightly General Assembly. Linda Atkins of the Eureka City Council, just informed the people gathered for the assembly that the County govt. has been complaining to the Eureka City govt. about the Occupy demonstration (on the lawn of the Courthouse/Jail). The County has been requesting that the Eureka Police Department come raid, or break up, the demonstration. Linda Atkins told the General Assembly that she thinks that it is imminent- the EPD coming to shut down the demonstration.

Possibly because this turned out so well, Atkins added she thought it would be a good idea to involve her in future law enforcement decisions:

While conceding the city ordinance does clearly prohibit camping in places like the courthouse lawn, Atkins said, an enforcement action against Occupy Eureka should have been decided upon by the City Council.

“With a demonstration of this magnitude and longevity, I think it should have been a policy decision whether to remove them,” she said. “I think it would be wise for us to have a public dialogue about any protest movement and how we’re going to treat it.”

Maybe instead there should be a policy decision whether to remove her.