Police Face Excessive Force Charges for Brutality During Occupy Berkeley

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Activist Post

A judge ruled last week that the police involved in the brutal 2011 crackdown on Occupy protesters at the UC Berkeley campus will face charges for excessive force, false arrest, retaliatory prosecution and abuse of process.

According to Courthouse News:

A group of 29 then sued school police, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Oakland Police Department  They said university officials had set in motion or ignored the police action that caused their injuries. 

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers last week found the allegations sufficient against some officers who were directly involved in alleged beating of protestors, but she dismissed claims against supervisors and others not directly involved.

The police attempted to have the case thrown out but the evidence of battering peaceful demonstrators was too overwhelming to drop the claim. The short video below was taken on campus the day in question and unmistakably shows that excessive force took place:

Later that same evening the protesters set up an encampment to keep the demonstration going. According to the complaint, the riot police showed up in stormtrooper gear around 9:30 pm and began “even more brutality, pushing and jabbing people and using overhand strokes on protestors’ heads.”

“The officers grabbed and indiscriminately pulled some of the protestors out of the lines and placed them under arrest,” the complaint said. “Even after removing the tents, some officers allegedly continued to beat the protestors, who were reinforced with hundreds more concerned students.”

The following two videos appear to indisputably back up these claims:

Video of police making arrests on students for assembling peaceably:

Judge Rogers listed a litany of specific brutal allegations to justify proceeding in the case, including:

  • A claim that a 250-lb police officer appeared to hit a protester “with tremendous force about five times with increasing intensity. In addition to jabs, this officer used overhand swings and struck Mr. Anderson’s legs as well.”
  • Another officer is alleged to have “purposely hit protester Hayden Harrison in the groin with the edge of her baton.”
  •  The police officers began hitting protesters that were trapped in a crowd.

One of the officers accused battery does not deny that “hitting a passive protester” is unconstitutional and their best defense was “that the law regarding the use of force against passive individuals was sufficiently unclear at the time of the events”.

Unrelated to this specific court case, another notable case of brutality against fellow University of California Occupiers, was the horrific scene that unfolded in UC Davis where a cop infamously pepper sprayed demonstrators like they were cockroaches. The students in the disturbing video below subsequently won a $1 million lawsuit settlement.

Taxpayers should be outraged on a number of fronts; that they clearly no longer have the right to assemble peaceably, that they pay these thugs’ salaries, and that they also pay for the resulting damages from these brutal actions on citizens they’re supposed to protect and serve.

Now that the UC Berkeley case has passed this hurdle, it will likely be settled like the UC Davis case and it’s unlikely the police will be held accountable.

See the ruling here.

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