Silent UC Berkeley protester detained

Alex Kim, a member of Occupy Cal, was detained on Sunday afternoon.
Katie Rapp/Courtesy
Alex Kim, a member of Occupy Cal, was detained on Sunday afternoon.

Alex Kim, a UC Berkeley senior and Occupy Cal protester who took a vow of silence, was detained Sunday by UCPD officers on Sproul Plaza, according to eyewitnesses at the scene.

At around 4:38 p.m., a few officers approached a group of demonstrators sitting on the lawn in front of Sproul Hall and handcuffed Kim before taking him away, said junior Katie Rapp.

“I was so surprised,” Rapp said. “They just grabbed him.”

UCPD Lt. Alex Yao, spokesperson for the department, said in an email early Monday morning that he could not discuss the circumstances of the officers’ encounter with Kim.

“UCPD did have contact with Alex Kim on Sunday,” Yao said in the email. “However, due to privacy laws, I can not divulge the nature of the contact for Mr. Kim’s protection.”

Several demonstrators said Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code was cited as the reason for Kim’s detainment. That section allows officers to take into custody any individual who “as a result of mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself” and place them in a county designated facility approved by the State Department of Mental Health.

Though Yao did not confirm or refute whether Kim was detained under Section 5150, an individual who appears to match Kim’s description is referenced in the UCPD crime logs from Sunday.

According to the  log, a male student was “transported to JGP via Paramedics Plus for psychiatric evaluation” from Upper Sproul Plaza. The location mentioned refers to John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro. The case is classified under Section 5150.

This came just hours after much of the Sproul encampment was dismantled Sunday morning.

J.D. Morris is the university news editor.