UC Berkeley professor pleads not guilty to Nov. 9 charges

Ramon Quintero, one of the Nov. 9 protesters who has been charged, speaks Friday outside Wiley W. Manuel courthouse in Oakland.
Jan Flatley-Feldman/Staff
Ramon Quintero, one of the Nov. 9 protesters who has been charged, speaks Friday outside Wiley W. Manuel courthouse in Oakland.

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OAKLAND — UC Berkeley associate English professor Celeste Langan pled not guilty Friday morning to charges stemming from her involvement at Occupy Cal’s Nov. 9 protest.

Roughly 40 people gathered in a small courtroom at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland to show support for Langan, who faces one charge of resisting arrest, one charge of remaining at the scene of a riot and one charge of obstructing a person’s free movement in a public place, according to county court documents.

Supporters hoped their solidarity would help influence a dismissal of the charges, said Daniela Urban, vice chair of the Boalt Hall Chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild.

“I wasn’t actually going to go,” Langan said. “But when I heard so many students were coming to support I knew I had to show up.”

Activist group BAMN held a press conference after Langan’s court appearance, particularly to contest the charges they said were brought against four protesters not arrested the day of the protest.

“People not arrested the day of the protest all were brutalized by police,” said Monica Smith, BAMN organizer and attorney, at the press conference. “This is a cover up for what they did.”

The Tang Center released information to UCPD regarding medical care that Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protesters received per state law, raising concern on the part of protesters that the information might have been used as evidence in filing the charges.

In a Tuesday letter to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, the ACLU of Northern California said “the (campus) must take affirmative steps to restore confidence in its medical center and to ensure that victims are not chilled from seeking medical treatment in the future” after campus police received information regarding injuries and treatment at the Tang Center.

“It’s troubling that those who received most serious injuries are the ones being faced with charges being brought,” said UC Berkeley law student Megan Wachspress.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, a total of 13 Nov. 9 protesters have been charged.

“There is intense feeling that these charges are political,” said UC Berkeley associate English professor Geoffrey O’Brien during the press conference.

Langan’s next court date was set for April 5.

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  • libsrclowns

    this professor must be freed! SOLIDARITY

    • Guest


    •  Oh, look, it’s the same silly little troll who impersonates everyone else.

  • Guest

    revoke this fool’s tenure

  • I_h8_disqus

    Who knew the English department were such radicals?

    • Guest

      Some kooks crept their way into the English department. A frequent occurrence at Berkeley.

      • jj

         She didn’t do anything. She put herself in the way to be arrested in place of the students who were getting beaten. Also, there was a physical wall and wall of humans barring any escape whatsoever.
        How do I know this?
        1. I was there.
        2. She was my professor last semester, and I was able to discuss with her what she was thinking during those moments. There was no resistance whatsoever.

        I could say more of what we discussed, but by the looks of your comments and apparent disregard for the #1 English department in the country, you don’t like to read.

        • Givemeabreak

           #1 English department in the country? Not at UC Berkeley.

  • ShadrachSmith

    The charges may be political, but so was the riot.
    The Left has gone way past reasonable in the way they try to make their points. Sort of disgusting, really…starting riots so you can whine about police brutality…a real pant-load as political agenda’s go.

  • Cal faculty member

    Birgeneau has resigned as a failed chancellor, and the university is at legal and financial risk because of the actions of his police.  Step it up!

    • Earl K. Long

      That’s the best news I’ve heard all week.

    • Guest

      I’m sorry, but you’ve got it all wrong.  November 9 was not just a peaceful protest, it was escalating into a riot and the use of force became appropriate.  Free speech and assembly are guaranteed under the First Amendment, to be sure, but not stuff like pushing against a police barrier.  Okay, so you guys are confident that the jury will find them not guilty?  Here’s where I think you may be wrong:  police departments across the country have responded to being videotaped by recording events themselves.  They, too, will prevent evidence of aggressive behavior on the part of protesters that will resonate with a jury.    I can tell you, as a native Berkeleyan, that the community is a little weary of constant disruptions by a very vocal fraction of activist students who, frankly, are outsiders – guests, if you will – at this university and city.  The jury will not consist of a handful of activists, but randomly selected members of the community, of course, and it will not necessarily be as sympathetic as people who voluntarily show up to take action at protests / rallies / other such organized events.  Remember Zhivka?  The one who tried to sue because her hand got smashed by a police baton (hope she’s doing okay)?  She didn’t win that one, and I believe it was heard by the district court of San Francisco, which is not quite Alabama. 

      Anyway, may justice prevail, either way. 

      • Guest

        I’m curious  as to whether you were actually there?  There was nothing violent or uncontrolled about our actions as protesters.

        • Guest

          Nope, I, like the jury who will be looking at video clips as evidence, was not there.  But your opinion about whether or not you were violent doesn’t count for much, you realize.  Let the evidence and the attorneys for both sides make the case.  The jury will decide if you were nonviolent or uncontrolled. 

          • Atlas Sobbed

            “Whether or not you were violent doesn’t count for much”? Are you f–king kidding me?

      • Flat wrong, and clearly written by someone who had no personal knowledge of what went on. I invite everyone to read the court documents and draw conclusions for themselves regarding our sacred and inalienable right to assemble.

        • Guest

          As I said below, I wasn’t there.  I was there, but keeping a sensible distance from the front lines.  Now I’m not so sure you know exactly what you’re Right to Peacably Assemble means and life will get a lot easier for you when you have a firm grasp of this.  I’m looking over the raw footage, as provided on youtube by the Daily Cal, and it looks like the police, at one point, read a statement that declared the tents outside of Sproul amounted to an unlawful assembly, cease and desist, etc., etc.  Okay, then it looked (from a bird’s eye view) they surrounded the tents and, using force, kept back a line of surrounding protesters with linked arms.  Batons were used to keep back the perimeter of students who REFUSED TO STAY BACK OF THEIR OWN ACCORD.   See, this is where the use of force becomes okay.  I know that sounds crazy, but there are situations where the use of force, even against young bambi-eyed students, is legit. And I’m not some mean jerk behind a computer trying to troll around and mess with you, here.  I sincerely believe your case, because of the footage, will not hold up in court.  Please be sure to revisit this comment section and tell me what an idiot I am if the jury of their peers finds otherwise.  

        • Guest

          Flat wrong, and clearly written by a biased fleabagger.

    • ShadrachSmith

      Is it true that hard-core Leftist political activism is the fastest road to tenure?

  •      According to MSNBC people arrested as a result of the November 9, 2012 protest will be arraigned for the next 2 weeks.

         Experience has shown  with other protesters arrested on similar charges around the country, when protesters who are arrested go to jury trial on these charges, the juries have found them NOT GUILTY. Also, once found not guilty, each one of them who filed civil rights law suits, can file additional civil rights allegations against the County and the University  for prosecuting them criminally.

          Juries are made up of people in the community who do not like to see students beat up for exercising their First Amendment rights of Free Speech and Assembly. If their attorneys are skilled and experienced, they will ask for jury instructions on this point as a defense to the charges against the students. The jury will then find them not guilty.

    • Guest

      Wow, do you like to babble nonsense.

    •  [Juries are made up of people in the community who do not like to see
      students beat up for exercising their First Amendment rights of Free
      Speech and Assembly.]

      Except that’s now what happened, you little shit-stirring fruit-loop. You also fail to mention that juries are usually made up of people who are generally civic minded and respectful of the legal process, so they aren’t usually sympathetic of little assholes who merely wish to engage in physical confrontations. Now why don’t you stop making a pest of yourself and get a real job?