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After weeks of raucous street demonstrations, Oakland city leaders finally decided one chilly morning last fall to remove a downtown campsite that had become a national symbol of the Occupy movement. Protesters made makeshift gas masks and braced for a fight with the much-maligned Oakland Police Department.

But police cleared the camp without incident. A middle-aged white woman facing the brawny police cordon gave her reason for the calm on a placard she carried: “Judge Thelton Henderson is watching.”

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