Man detained for allegedly hanging banner from Sather Tower

Ashley Chen/Staff
Members of the Occupy movement raised a banner on the side of the campanille today.

A man aligned with the Occupy Berkeley movement was detained for allegedly helping hang a banner from Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus Wednesday afternoon.

The banner was raised shortly after the noon bells rang in the tower. It read, “Time UC us,” with the word “OCCUPY” running down it in black letters.

UCPD gave Berkeley resident Russell Bates a seven-day exclusion order, which mandates he must stay away from the campus, for allegedly hanging an unauthorized banner and trespassing with the intent to damage or interfere, according to the UCPD crime logs from Wednesday.

At the same time Bates was detained, UCPD officers questioned an unnamed 21-year-old woman on suspicion of trespassing in the tower, according to Lt. Alex Yao.

“The case is still currently under investigation,” Yao said. “Bates is one of the suspects in the case, but we are still investigating additional suspects.”

Yao said Bates was detained by UCPD officers on the Campanile’s observation deck and identified by a witness. The observation deck was open to the public at the time.

Bates said he was atop the tower when the banner was raised but denied any involvement in raising it from the foot of the tower. He said he believes he was given the stay-away order because of his past involvement with issues on campus.

Bates has had a long history in Berkeley as a resident, street vendor, activist and, most recently, a participant in Occupy Berkeley.

According to Bates, his presence in the Campanile at the time the banner was raised was a coincidence.

“I’d never been up there,” Bates said.