Alex Kim gives account of UCPD detainment

UC Berkeley senior Alex Kim became a prominent face of the Occupy Cal movement after he took a vow of silence and pitched a tent on Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s lawn on Thanksgiving Day.

But Kim garnered the most attention from the campus community Dec. 11, when fellow Occupy protesters said Kim was detained by UCPD officers on Sproul Plaza and that officers cited Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code as the reason for his detainment.

Just hours before Kim’s detainment, clean-up crews had removed the physical vestiges of Occupy Cal around Sproul Hall.

In a Dec. 23 interview, Kim confirmed that he was detained Dec. 11 by UCPD officers. UCPD Lt. Alex Yao, spokesperson for the department, said in a Dec. 12 email that he could not discuss the “nature of the contact” between Kim and the officers due to privacy laws.

Though the Dec. 11 UCPD crime logs state that a male student who appears to match Kim’s description was taken from Upper Sproul Plaza to John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro for psychiatric evaluation, Kim said in the interview that he was transported to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center after his detainment.

Kim said he stayed at the center for about five or six hours and left after speaking with a doctor, who said he did not need to remain at the hospital or see a psychiatrist. Kim said he asked for the UCPD report regarding his detainment but was told the report could not be released due to medical reasons.

“I filed a complaint … because the report was falsified,” Kim said. “I went to UCPD, and they were running me around in circles.”

That was not the last interaction between Kim and UCPD, however — Kim was detained again at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 for stealing socks. He was cited for petty theft from the Cal Student Store and referred to the Center for Student Conduct, according to the logs.

Kim said he stole three pairs of socks in order to further speak to UCPD officers, and that he has not yet heard from the student conduct office about what impact the action will have.

“The intention was to get their attention,” he said.

Yao could not be reached for comment regarding the Dec. 15 incident.

Kim added that he plans to continue involvement with Occupy Cal in the spring semester.

Alisha Azevedo is the assistant university news editor.