OAKLAND -- City officials are asking the public to send photos and videos that will help authorities prosecute vandals associated with recent protests.
The request comes less than two weeks after a wave of Occupy Oakland protests on May 1, when downtown banks and other businesses were vandalized with graffiti and smashed windows.
"Oakland champions the First Amendment rights of demonstrators; however, we will not tolerate individuals hijacking demonstrations to trash our town and act out in destructive or harmful ways," City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement.
Parker, who has hired an investigator to review photographic and video evidence, said she will file lawsuits against alleged vandals to recover damages.
Oakland's Neighborhood Law Corps, the community law unit in the city attorney's office, has filed lawsuits against three protesters arrested in past months on suspicion of vandalism in downtown Oakland.
None of the residents live in Oakland, city officials said.
One protester was arrested after police said he smashed a city building's windows with a metal chair in a Nov. 3 demonstration. Two others were taken into custody Jan. 28 on suspicion of spray painting public property, according to city officials.
"As a city, we must take action to stop destruction that harms innocent local residents, property and livelihood," Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said in a statement.
Photos or videos can be
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.