In the summer months, Oakland usually experiences, not only a rise in the temperature, but also a rise in the number of illegal car rallies held on its streets. These events, most commonly known as ‘sideshows,’ involve dozens of vehicles, participating in various car stunts. One in particular, held last Saturday in the vicinity of MacArthur Boulevard and 100th Avenue, included vehicles spinning in circles, fireworks, and firearms. An officer with the Oakland police was hit in the face by a bottle, which caused him to experience several severe facial lacerations requiring immediate surgery. Although approximately 22 citations were handed out and 4 cars were towed, none of the spectators were able to identify the individual who threw the bottle at the policeman.
If the individual who threw the bottle is ever identified and apprehended, they will face quite serious consequences. California law dictates that any person who purposefully harms a peace officer (or other protected person, like a firefighter or EMT) is guilty of a violation of CA Penal Code 243(b) and 243(c), “Battery on a Peace/Police Officer.” In cases such as this, in order to get a conviction, prosecutors must prove that you a) intended to do harm to the alleged victim and b) that you knew that he or she was a police or peace officer involved in the course of their duties as such. Penalties for violating CA PC 243(b) and 243(c) are severe. Although this crime is usually treated as a misdemeanor, a conviction on such a charge could land you in county jail for 1 year and subject you to a $2,000 fine. However, misdemeanor charges only apply if the alleged victim has not been seriously injured. In the above case, the officer was hurt badly and required emergency treatment. Thus, it will likely be treated as felony battery on a peace officer. This means that the guilty party could face up to 3 years in county jail and a fine of $10,000.