Calls for more penalties for Golden Gate Bridge protesters; 26 arrested not yet charged

Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Calls for more penalties for GGB pro-Palestinian protesters
San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins says pro-Palestinian protesters who shut down the Golden Gate Bridge won't be charged with a crime, at least not yet.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's District Attorney says pro-Palestinian protesters who shut down the Golden Gate Bridge for hours Monday won't be charged with a crime - at least not yet.

Twenty-six people are still in jail right now arrested on suspicion of several misdemeanors and felony conspiracy.

DA Brooke Jenkins told ABC7 News she was up against a 4 p.m. deadline to charge the protesters or release them, and she's not ready to bring charges. She says she needs more information.

MORE: 38 Pro-Palestinian protesters arrested after shutdown of Golden Gate Bridge, I-880 in Oakland: CHP

Pro-Palestinian protesters blockaded the Golden Gate Bridge for hours, sending the Monday morning commute into chaos.

"The CHP did make an arrest for this felony conspiracy charge so we are now tasked with evaluating whether or not their conduct rises to that level. So that does require a certain amount of evidence," she said.

The DA's office said the investigation is still ongoing and wrote in a press release: "anyone who was detained against their will (falsely imprisoned) on the Golden Gate Bridge on April 15, 2024, is urged to contact the California Highway Patrol at 415-924-1105 or via email at"

DA Jenkins wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter:

"The San Francisco District Attorney's Office is committed to ensuring that SF is safe for everyone who lives in and enters our city. While we must protect avenues for free speech, the exercise of free speech cannot compromise public safety."

On Tuesday, dozens gathered outside San Francisco County Jail to demand the release of the 26 people arrested.

"It's unprecedented that these felony charges are being made," said one protester who identified herself as Bridget.

Following Jenkins' earlier announcement, some of those detained were slowly released from the jail.

Some in the group became hostile when we attempted to film them.

"We have been protesting in non-obstructing traffic ways. We've been writing to them. We've been changing the way that we vote as best that we can but we're still not being listened to," Bridget said.

MORE: Here's what protesters could face for blocking off Bay Area freeway, bridge

Monday's protests were the second time protesters have shut down major Bay Area bridges and freeways in recent months.

And some, like Southern California Assemblywoman Kate Sanchez, want to see protesters held accountable.

ABC7 News spoke to a spokesperson from her office Tuesday.

"They're blocking not only people trying to get to work and trying to make ends meet. They're blocking people trying to get to the hospital. They're blocking people trying to pick up their kids from school," said Sanchez's spokesperson, Griffin Bovee.

Sanchez has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would double the minimum fine for protesters who intentionally obstruct the flow of traffic in any way that would prevent the passage of emergency vehicles.

VIDEO: Pro-Palestinian protesters shut down Oakland freeway; 12 arrested by CHP in East Bay protests

The first protest began at 6:15 a.m. on Northbound 880 at 5th Avenue. Then at 8:15 a.m., protesters shut down southbound lanes of 880 in Oakland. Twelve people were arrested.

A proposal her office says has gotten great public support and one she's determined to see through following Monday's protests.

"Honestly, they want us to do more. And we feel that, we want to do more too. We want to make sure that these people are punished to the fullest extent of the law," Bovee said.

Governor Gavin Newsom also weighed in, saying he supports the right to protest, but not Monday's approach.

"I don't think that's helpful and I don't think that's responsible. I think there are better ways of protesting so no, I hope we don't see it again, and I think people need to be held to account for their actions," the governor said.

Protesters face a variety of charges including unlawful assembly, refusal to comply with a lawful order, unlawful stop on a bridge, resisting arrest and false imprisonment and conspiracy.

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