Protesters from Old City Hall could have charges dismissed under stay away order

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Protesters from Liberty City — a homeless encampment in front of Berkeley’s Old City Hall — arrested last December may have charges dismissed if they abide by a stay away order from the Civic Center area and remain in good behavior for the next six months.

On Friday, an Alameda County Criminal Court judge deferred prosecution for two defendants 49-year-old Mike Zint and 30-year-old Casey Hosierwho were charged with misdemeanors. They were cited under California Penal Code for lodging without the property owner’s permission.

Zint and Hosier, the defendants, appeared in court after previously pleading not guilty to charges following their arrests on Dec. 4.

A third individual arrested, Shardee Davis, previously pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace and was issued a protective order to remain at least 100 yards away from the Berkeley Civic Center. Her prosecution was deferred for 12 months.

According to a report from BPD officer Sean Tinney, the three were cited after refusing to pick up belongings and failing to leave the campsite in front of Old City Hall after being given multiple warnings. Tinney wrote that it was Zint’s “intent to be arrested for their cause.”

At its meeting Wednesday, the Berkeley Police Commission discussed writing a letter to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office asking them not to prosecute the individuals and to dismiss the charges.

Because the stay away order has a clause that Hosier and Zint may return to Old City Hall for lawful purposes, Zint said protesters are discussing steps toward another demonstration.

“I specifically made sure protesting is allowed, and they said it was okay,” Zint wrote on the First They Came for the Homeless Facebook page Friday. “So, I propose a victory occupation of old city hall. Not long term, but a maximum of 72 hours.”

The next hearing for Zint and Hosier is scheduled for Oct. 28. Davis’ hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9.

Pamela Larson covers city government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @pamreporting.