Six Wheeler Hall protesters found not guilty of disturbing the peace

Jan Flatley-Feldman/Staff
A sign in support of the "Wheeler 9" hanging on the fence around the vacant lot on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street.

Six of the March 2 UC Berkeley Wheeler Hall sit-in protesters were found not guilty of disturbing the peace in a ruling issued Tuesday in Oakland.

The decision resulted from a bench trial presided over by Judge Gordon Baranco at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland. The protesters — who were arrested after they refused to leave Wheeler Hall in a demonstration against budget cuts — were originally charged for trespassing but had their charges amended to disturbing the peace during the course of the trial.

Eleven other protesters were arrested during the March 2 protest. Of those 11, three did not have charges brought against them by the district attorney, five accepted plea agreements last week and an additional three await trial for misdemeanor trespassing and resisting arrest charges.

Of the five March 2 protesters who accepted plea agreements, four pled no contest to disturbing the peace and must complete 45 hours of community service. The fifth protester pled no contest to the same charge and must complete 55 hours of community service.

Sarah Burns is the lead crime reporter