Charges not filed against two remaining Occupy the Farm protesters

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Charges were not filed Monday against the two remaining Occupy the Farm protesters for their involvement in the occupation on UC-owned farmland in Albany last month, during which a total of nine people were arrested during a raid on the land.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office decided not to file charges against Anastasia Lutrell and Gabrielle Silverman, which means that no charges have been filed against any of the protesters arrested following the May 14 UCPD raid on the Gill Tract. Charges against seven of the other protesters arrested were declined to be filed last week.

“Based upon the totality of the evidence reviewed by the district attorney’s office, we declined to file charges,” said Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick in an email.

According to Drenick, Silverman still faces an unrelated misdemeanor charge from January that consists of resisting arrest, but is free of any charges relating to Occupy the Farm.

Lutrell, who is not affiliated with UC Berkeley, was not present at Monday’s hearing at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland and said she found out charges were not filed against her on Friday.

“I was very happy,” she said. “There was no reason for me to be arrested. I believe there was no reason for anyone to be arrested.”

Anya Kamenskaya, a spokesperson for Occupy the Farm, said she is “really glad” about the outcome for the remaining two protesters, but would not comment further because a group discussion consisting of the movement’s participants had not yet taken place.

According to Lutrell, an officer at the scene during the raid said the protesters were being arrested for unlawful assembly.

“It infuriated me because I have a degree in political science, and I know what the Constitution grants me,” she said.

As for whether the organizers have any future plans involving the Gill Tract land, Lutrell replied that “farmland is for farming.”

On June 8 the district attorney’s office decided not to file charges against seven protesters arrested during the May raid — Charles Allred, Mari Belmares, Gopal Dayaneni, Kimber Morrison, Stefanie Rawlings, Sheryl Rowe and Marisa Skaggs.

Silverman is one of the 15 defendants named in a civil suit issued by the UC on May 9 against the protesters. The suit that alleges the defendants “cut the chains securing the gates into Gill Tract, entered the property and have since established a campsite and attempted to grow food” on the tract. Lutrell is not one of the defendants named in the lawsuit.

Legal representation for Occupy the Farm and the UC presented arguments at a May 31 preliminary injunction hearing for the civil suit. The injunction could bar protesters indefinitely from the Albany farmland if Alameda County Superior Court Judge David Hunter approves it.

Lutrell, as well as other Occupy the Farm participants, believe the university should drop the lawsuit.

“I think the university will regret it,” she said. “Once you open a can of worms, it’s hard to close it.”

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  • Russell Bates

    now drop the slapp suit!!!