Berkeley mayoral candidate Zachary RunningWolf is on hunger strike in the Santa Rita Jail after his Sept. 12 arrest.
RunningWolf began his hunger strike Sept. 30 in protest of his $50,000 bail and the repeated postponement of his court hearing, according to campaign manager Thomas Hodgman. His hearing has been delayed twice and is currently scheduled for Oct. 12.
“He was in good spirits,” said RunningWolf’s long-time friend Julie Dickinson. “He’s feeling strong. … He’s taking in liquid and sharing his food with the other prisoners.”
RunningWolf was arrested on suspicion of vandalism and marijuana possession, which allegedly occurred during a march in support of a prison labor strike. Court records indicate that these alleged actions violated his probation.
Hodgman said the postponement of RunningWolf’s hearings is an “injustice,” saying RunningWolf was unable to attend one hearing because he was being moved within the Santa Rita Jail when his hearing was scheduled. Hodgman added that RunningWolf’s continued imprisonment has prevented him from attending candidate events for his mayoral campaign.
Assistant District Attorney Teresa Drenick said bringing inmates to the courthouse for their hearings is the responsibility of the sheriff’s office.
“If he wasn’t brought in by some mistake of the sheriff, sometimes that happens, but not very often,” Drenick said.
She added that, although she could not speak to RunningWolf’s case specifically, there are “myriad reasons” why court dates may be extended — such as, for instance, a lawyer requesting more time to speak with the defense attorney or judge.
Hodgman said RunningWolf will continue the hunger strike until his bail is lowered, adding that this action also serves to protest prison conditions.
“One of the big highlights of (RunningWolf’s) platform is that he has experience dealing with an unjust policing system,” Hodgman said. “He’s very much someone who walks the walk.”