Submission of police conduct report regarding Nov. 9 protest delayed

Five days before the UC Berkeley Police Review Board’s deadline to submit a report of police conduct detailing the Nov. 9 protest events to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, the chair of the board announced that the board will not meet its deadline.

In a Jan. 27 letter to Birgeneau, UC Berkeley School of Law professor and chair of the board Jesse Choper stated that the board’s planning was delayed due to insufficient student input because of winter break. The board hopes to hold hearings about the protest events before the end of February and to produce a report shortly afterward, according to the letter.

However, it is an optimistic timeline, Choper wrote in the letter.

Despite this deadline to produce a report detailing the Nov. 9 events — which involved police officers using batons against protesters attempting to set up an encampment outside of Sproul Hall — the board has not yet finalized the process for the investigation.

Choper said in an interview that the board is close to announcing the process, though he could not specify a timeline.

This is a long-awaited process. Demonstrators previously demanded that the board address the Nov. 9 events by packing into the board’s annual meeting Dec. 1 and disrupting its proceedings.

If the board had started earlier, winter break would not have affected the timeline as much, said ASUC Student Advocate Samar Shah.  Shah said he felt that at this point, the delay to create a report was done with good intentions to gather more student input.

“They got started a lot later then they should have,”  Shah said.

In a Nov. 14 campuswide message, Birgeneau announced that he had charged the board with determining whether the conduct of the police was consistent with the established campus policies.

“I am confident that Professor Choper will provide a fair and balanced judgment as speedily as possible,” Birgeneau said in the message.

The board then formed a review committee — composed of five of the nine members on the board — to carry out the investigation. Student representatives of the board held a workshop Jan. 19 to hear campus input into the process.

At the workshop, a tentative plan was discussed to hold a two-part process involving another workshop, followed by a smaller discussion in which representatives from the student body, police and faculty would present evidence about the Nov. 9 events.

Choper was unable to comment if there would be opportunities for students, police and faculty to discuss their experiences on Nov. 9 before the review committee publishes the final report.

Read the full text of Choper’s letter below.


Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the UC Berkeley Police Review Board had a Jan. 31 deadline to submit an outline of how to investigate the Nov. 9 protest events. In fact, the deadline was to submit a full report of police conduct.

A previous version of this article also incorrectly stated that the review committee workshop was held on Jan. 20. In fact, it was held on Jan. 19.