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UC Berkeley Students Filing Lawsuit Against Campus Police and Others

| November 29, 2011
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Just received a news release that twenty-four students and community members will file a lawsuit in United States District Court today.

They write it’s in response to brutality at the hands of UC Berkeley Police during the “Occupy Cal” protest on November 9. Video from that day went viral:

Thanks to video submitted by NeyazN via Tackable, we have the November 15th General Assembly at Cal where the crowd first heard today’s lawsuit was coming. You can hear the crowd pass the word along in what’s become the trademark echo amplification of the Occupy movement:

From the press release about the lawsuit:

The plaintiffs are represented by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).

The defendants are UCB Chancellor Birgeneau, other senior UCB administrators, University of California Police Department Chief Mitchell Celaya, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Chief Gregory Ahern, Oakland Police Department Chief Howard Jordan, and individually-named police officers.

BAMN welcomes more people who want to become plaintiffs in the lawsuit to join.

Student tents during the Occupy Cal protest earlier this month. photo by Caitlin Esch

Student tents during the Occupy Cal protest earlier this month. photo by Caitlin Esch

Meanwhile yesterday – anticipating the suit? – the UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association released an open letter :

A video clip gone viral does not depict the full story or the facts leading up to an actual incident. Multiple dispersal requests were given in the days and hours before the tent removal operation. Not caught on most videos were scenes of protesters hitting, pushing, grabbing officers’ batons, fighting back with backpacks and skateboards.

The UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association supports a full investigation of the events that took place on November 9th, as well as a full review of University policing policies. That being said, we do not abrogate responsibility for the events on November 9th.

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About the Author ()

Rachel Dornhelm got her start in radio at WHYY. After anthropology graduate school, Rachel lived in Uzbekistan working with youth near the drying Aral Sea. Rachel returned to radio full-time in 2001. Her work has appeared on WNYC, WBUR, Marketplace, NPR news magazines and KQED. Reach Rachel Dornhelm at rdornhelm@kqed.org.
  • Anonymous

    Phenomenal. I hope the folks who were, er, “seasoned” by Lt John Pike at UC Davis do the same.

  • Anonymous

    UC
    Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police report to the chancellor and the
    campus police take direction from the chancellor. University of California
    (UC) campus chancellors vet their campus police protocols.  Birgeneau allowed pepper spray and use of
    batons to be included in his campus police protocols.

    Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police use brutal baton jabs on students
    protesting increases in tuition. UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis
    Chancellor Katehi are in dereliction of their duties.

    Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor need to quit or be fired for permitting the
    brutal outrages on students protesting tuition increases.

    Opinions? Email the UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu

  • elaine m.

    “Not caught on most videos were scenes of protesters hitting, pushing,
    grabbing officers’ batons, fighting back with backpacks and skateboards”  

    I saw not even ONE such incident.  –
    And “fighting back with BACKPACKS”?  Whoever wrote that is a little bit dim.  A police officer was hit with a BACKPACK- right- and how terrifying besides.
    Let’s see even ONE video clip of anything like that.
    There’s a reason none of that’s on video- these were peaceful protests.