Occupy the farm protesters face court hearings while campus promises urban farming

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Two Occupy the Farm protesters arrested during last week’s UCPD raid of UC-owned land in Albany had charges dropped against them in court hearings Wednesday.

At least nine more protesters arrested May 14 at the Gill Tract in Albany have upcoming pretrial hearings, but according to Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick, the county declined to file charges against Mari Belmares and Charles Allred based on the “interest of justice.”

One Occupy the Farm protester, Edward Miller, has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Thursday morning. Miller’s charges include three misdemeanors committed at the Gill Tract including battery on a peace officer, trespassing and resisting arrest on account of trespass. Miller allegedly urinated on a police officer while perched in a tree on the perimeter of the tract on the day of the raid.

Drenick said that Miller was taken to the Berkeley Police Department jail following his arrest. He is being held on bail for $20,000, according to the court docket.

Several protesters also still face a lawsuit issued by the campus.

According to a letter written Friday by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer and Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance John Wilton, staff members from the College of Natural Resources who use the Gill Tract for agricultural research have begun preparing the field for planting, but staff will reserve about 25 percent of the tract for urban farming.

“The Gill Tract can and will accommodate both research and urban agriculture throughout the growing season,” the letter reads.

Adelyn Baxter is the news editor.