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.