UC Berkeley investigates alleged police brutality

Demonstrators protest in front of a closed off University of California, Berkeley building on the Berkeley, Calif., campus, Friday,. Nov. 20, 2009, during a demonstration against university fee hikes and layoffs. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

November 23, 2009 5:49:19 PM PST
The University of California, Berkeley is investigating allegations of police brutality against students and employees who protested fee hikes and budget cuts last week.

Police action on Friday night prompted Berkeley's chancellor to call for an independent investigation by the Campus Police Review Board.

Natalia Garcia Pasmanick is a student who on Friday was protesting a tuition hike by the Regents outside Wheeler Hall.

"I had my hand on a barricade, the police officer asked me to move it and I didn't and without warning he struck my hand with his baton," she said.

The Campus Police Review Board consists of students, faculty and staff.

"Determine A, was there a better way to handle the protest and B, what can we do to insure that things like this don't happen again so that when there are protests they happen in a way that is respectful to the rights of others," said UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

While UC Berkeley returned to some normalcy on Monday, there were some rallies on campus. Some of the 41 protesters who remained inside Wheeler Hall for 11 hours on Friday were at the rallies and they now face misdemeanor charges.

Elaine Eller was inside. She said they were arrested without any problems.

"They were actually OK, a couple of our cuffs were too tight, other than that it was OK," said Eller.

Julian Martinez was also arrested, but early in the morning. He and two others faced felony charges for trespassing.

"This is not an anarchist movement, this is a student movement and we are all looking for affordably education because that brings about equality," said Martinez.

On Monday afternoon, students came to Alameda County Superior Court to support Martinez and two others, only to find the charges had been dropped. But the D.A. could file misdemeanor charges later.

Graham Archer is a lawyer for one of the protesters.

"The D.A. has the discretion and I presume will be investigating. It's at their discretion to file any further charges," said Archer.

Criminal charges could be filed soon against the 70 demonstrators who took over the administration building this weekend at UC Santa Cruz.

Officials say the protesters left behind mounds of trash and food, and ransacked conference rooms.

Protesters say they were given only 12 minutes to evacuate on Sunday, and didn't have time to clean-up. University officials plan to look through surveillance video to try to identify those who did the damage.


Load Comments