Occupy Cal Protesters To Sue Over Police Response

BERKELEY (CBS SF) — A group of University of California at Berkeley students and community protesters who say they were victims of police brutality during a Nov. 9 “Occupy Cal” demonstration announced Monday their lawsuit against the university and multiple UCPD police officers.

Ronald Cruz, a lawyer with the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, said Monday that the organization is planning to file the suit on behalf of seven protesters who claim to be victims of police violence and false arrests.

In the lawsuit, which Cruz said BAMN plans to file later this month, the plaintiffs will also call on Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to resign.

University spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said Monday afternoon that university administrators were unaware of the planned lawsuit and declined to comment on any pending litigation.

Gilmore said Birgenau plans to issue a memo to the campus community on Monday related to the Occupy Cal movement.

“The police repeatedly beat students, especially women students, in the ribs, stomach, arms, legs and face,” UC Berkeley senior and BAMN organizer Matt Williams said in the statement released Monday.

Yvette Felarca, a BAMN national organizer, said she was one of the first women targeted by police during the Nov. 9 protest. A now-viral YouTube video shows a police officer yanking her by the hair, Felarca said.

Felarca said she is still recovering from a beating she endured at the hands of UC Berkeley police officers that day.

“I was one of the people beaten pretty badly—and I saw so many other people, especially women, who were viciously attacked and I feel very much that it’s a matter of principle that we have to hold those police officers accountable, and hold the chancellor accountable,” Felarca said Monday. “Nobody had the right to beat us, much less police ordered by administrators.”

Cruz said Felarca has been instrumental in bringing together many of the students who say they were victimized or falsely arrested by UC Berkeley police officers that day.

The number of plaintiffs in the lawsuit may grow as BAMN organizers are considering finding more protesters who were victimized by campus police on Nov. 9, he said.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit plan to join thousands of other UC Berkeley protesters Tuesday in an Occupy Cal strike with a planned afternoon march from Oakland to the UC Berkeley campus, Cruz said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Sombra Negra

    You know, you little SOB protesters, you want too stir up shiite and riot and then you cry and whine about getting hit, well, what the F do you expect? We are sick of YOU, get it??!! If it was up to me, I’d be using live ammo, not batons! I have more respect for Usama bin Laden then than I have for you and your little Occupy riots, and believe me I hate bin Laden!! I think I will sue your a$$es for violating MY rights. There will come a time when the police won’t be able to protect you anymore, get it??!!

    • OCCUPY

      I’m not sick of them….don’t speak for a collective group. Speak for yourself. And they aren’t violating your rights; if anything, they’re advocating for your rights by doing these protests. They are exercising their right to protest, something that is in the constitution. If they aren’t allowed….then all our freedoms are at stake. If the government takes away our right to protest, what’s next?

  • kc

    They do realize that this action will cost the university more money, right, thus leading to the possibility of raising fees. I still maintain that they are protesting at the wrong place – they need to be in Sacramento going after the legislatures who have allowed this situation to occur.
    The California public colleges and universities use to be cheap, affordable, free, for California residents.

  • SFG1ant1

    I agree with Sombra Negra that the protesters/agitants are nothing more than little cry babies. They knew what was going to happen based on their aggressive behavior. Their constitution rights were certainly not violated. They deserved a more serious beatdown.

  • Hope Forchange

    Whether it was appropriate or inappropriate for the student protestors to be coming forward to voice their concerns, irregardless of the location, it was inappropriate, unjust, immoral, and uncivilized for the police to use brute force against them when there was no basis for such behavior ie.as in self-defense or with the potential threat of physical aggression via arms or other means. This was a shameful and hypocritical demonstration within a democratic country which professes and believes strongly in civil and human rights for all citizens, and whom intercedes and assists other nations’ peoples regularly in securing the same! How and when is it going to end? And just where do we go from here?

  • jason

    What do people think this is, a free country? We need to do everything we can to encourage democracy in the rest of the world, while beating the s$it out of people here, that’s the American Way.

  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/11/15/uc-berkeley-students-call-for-general-strike-host-teach-in/ UC Berkeley Students Call For General Strike, Host Teach-In « CBS San Francisco

    […] those arrested during last week’s confrontation, and said the university is investigating the police response to the […]

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