UPDATE: This version includes new details throughout.
Palo Alto Police officers detonated tear gas cartriges Tuesday night during a tumultuous and violent clash with Occupy demonstrators, police confirmed.
"We did fire CS gas, yes," said Palo Alto Police Officer Kara Apple. "It was at the direction of Oakland police, after officers at various different locations started taking on bottles and rocks."
In an exclusive interview with Palo Alto Patch, Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns confirmed Wednesday that his office responded to a Mutual Aid Request by Oakland police by sending officers.
The group included ten crowd-control specialist officers, two lieutenants, one dispatcher, and the center, or MEOC, which came with a driver and communications specialist.
Apple said that the tear gas used Tuesday night was a non-explosive variety.
"They’re not blast type devices," she said. "The gas burns internally and then comes out of the devices as a smoke. They are not designed to explode."
The clash between demonstrators and police in Oakland became a national story after 24-year-old Iraq veteran Scott Olsen was critically injured after reportedly being hit in the head by a tear gas canister.
The Marine Corps corporal was transported to Highland Hospital and remains in critical condition with head wounds and brain swelling.
Apple said that none of the devices used by Palo Alto police in Oakland seemed to have malfunctioned.
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said yesterday that tear gas was necessary to defend police from demonstrators.
"We had to deploy gas to stop people from throwing rocks and bottles at police," he said.
Numerous attempts to reach Oakland police were unsuccessful.
Palo Alto’s police department was one of 18 agencies that reportedly responded to Oakland’s request for mutual aid.
Palo Alto Police Officer Kara Apple said that the decision to respond to a mutual aid request can rest in the hands of a sergeant, all the way up the chain of command.
"There’s a lot to consider, depending on what’s being requested," she said, adding that availabilty of resources and the urgency of the request are major factors. In the case of the Oakland occupation, "I can tell you a sergeant didn’t authorize it," she said.
Apple cautioned that details pertaining to the incident with Scott Olsen will likely remain unavailable, as there will probably be an investigation by Oakland police into the matter that would prevent her from commenting.
Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa and Council Member Pat Burt were not immediately available for comment.