Charges still stand against final Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protester

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Charges were upheld against the final protester charged for his involvement in the Nov. 9 Occupy Cal demonstrations in a court hearing Wednesday.

UC Berkeley graduate student Jasper Bernes became the only protester of the 13 charged following Nov. 9 not to have his charges dismissed at his court appearance at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Although charges for the majority of the protesters involved resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer and remaining at the scene of a riot, Bernes also faced charges for allegedly battering an officer.

Bernes’ attorney Vylma Ortiz said she feels Bernes is being targeted because he was also arrested and charged with resisting arrest last week during his participation in the May 1 Day of Action protests in Oakland.

Bernes was held for more than 10 hours when he was arrested last Tuesday but was released on bail the next day, according to Ortiz.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick said the incidents on Nov. 9 and May 1 were not related in the final outcome regarding the Nov. 9 charges.

“He was originally charged with battery upon a police officer,” Drenick said. “It’s a very serious misdemeanor charge. Both cases have been evaluated independently.”

The district attorney’s office has amended the original complaint against Bernes to add the additional charges stemming from his May 1 arrest, according to Drenick.

The 12 protesters who appeared in court before Bernes had their charges dropped following a letter sent by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to the district attorney’s office stating that Birgeneau had withdrawn his support for the protesters’ prosecution.

“Everyone has a first amendment right to protest and to state speech freely … (the DA) is going after what you call repeat offenders,” Ortiz said. “I am interested to see what the university thinks of expressions of free speech and a first amendment protected activity.”

Bernes next court date is set for 9 a.m. on May 16 at the courthouse, according to Ortiz.


Anjuli Sastry is an assistant news editor.

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  • ArwenUndomniel

       It is unclear what the writer of this article means when s/he says ” Charges were “upheld”  against Jasper Bernes. It does not say this was a preliminary hearing where testimony was presented. Sounds more like a pre-trial hearing.

       If this was a pre-trial hearing, there will and can be MANY more pre-trial hearings before this ever goes to trial. It appears that Bernes is being targeted. Has his attorney filed a motion to dismiss based on this targeting? The law prohibits “selective prosecution”. California Supreme case on point. What is she doing?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3PCXNFJJQS2ETBG5NNBN4SWVZY Johnny

    off to Santa Rita for the career student… hope he likes hotdogs with veins

  • Police Always Lie

    battery on an officer… video or it didn’t happen.

    Cops lie constantly, don’t take my word for it, look into it for yourself.
    the following terms ought to get your search off to a roaring start:
    “testilying” and “exclusionary rule” and “civil asset forfeiture”

    The following article is titled “why cops lie” and is written by a former SF police commissioner:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/14/EDKL1IAK11.DTL
    Though much of the impetus to commit perjury stems ultimately from the war on drugs, what makes you think they aren’t above doing it for other reasons such as political repression or saving their own behinds from prosecution for false arrest and undue use of force? Don’t be so naive.

    as always much valuable information may be found here:
    http://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/search-and-seizure

    • Carlos

       I’m not looking for proof, so I don’t need a video.  I’m looking for these dumb ass costly protests by hippie wanna-be’s who have no clue what real civil disobedience is (you pay the price of your crime — you don’t do the crime and then whine for amnesty), so I’m okay with them locking him up without video.

      And Occupy lies all the time as they say they are for civil justice and then go do damage to property owned by the 99 per cent.   So fuk him — lock him up — and if that requires lies from the police, I’m cool with it.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NSTJQT7UBNSNYV2VBUJFC46BYM Adam

        Congratulations, you’re a fascist scumbag