UC Berkeley group scheduled training session for legal observers in light of recent protests

Amid public outcry over police treatment of protesters last week, a UC Berkeley group has scheduled training for legal observers Monday afternoon in light of several protests scheduled for this week.

The Boalt Hall Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild held a training for legal observers Monday afternoon, according to Daniela Urban, a UC Berkeley School of Law student who has served as a legal observer at past protests.

“The role of the legal observer is to document police movement and police abuse,” Urban said.

The event is the fourth legal observer training the group has held this year and was scheduled in anticipation of the Open University strike Tuesday and the protest that had initially been planned for Wednesday’s now-postponed UC Board of Regents meeting.

According to Urban, in the Bay Area legal observers have generally had a presence for many years, and having legal support arranged for protesters is not a new concept. While Urban said she could only speak for the three years she has been on campus, she added that legal observers have had a presence at previous campus protests.

Occupy Legal, a collective of activists, lawyers and legal workers, has been working with the Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild to provide legal support to protesters.

According to Greg Michalec, a member of Occupy Legal and the National Lawyers Guild, recent local Occupy protests have resulted in an upswing in people participating as legal observers. He added that a lot of that effort has been spearheaded by local law schools, including UC Berkeley School of Law.

Franklin Krbechek of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.