City Council candidate Aidan Hill arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace during a UC Berkeley class

Aidan Hill/Courtesy

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Aidan Hill, a candidate for Berkeley City Council District 7, was arrested in connection with disturbing a class in Wheeler Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

About 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Hill was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a public officer and disturbing the peace, according to Alameda County Inmate Locator. According to two students who witnessed the incident, UCPD officers detained Hill about 4:50 p.m. during an undergraduate political science class.

Hill, who uses they/them pronouns, began waving campaign signs during the class, demanding that the class’s guest speakers answer their questions. When UCPD officers attempted to detain Hill, Hill reportedly “dropped to the ground” — according to campus sophomore Fannie Osran — and started saying, “Black lives matter,” “Say their names” and “I can’t breathe.”

UCPD Sgt. Jon Caires confirmed that officers responded to reports of someone “disrupting a class.” But a UCPD spokesperson could not be reached for further comment as of press time.

Osran said Hill walked toward the front of the lecture hall about 4:30 p.m. holding a poster and sat down a few feet in front of her. Hill then started filming the speakers — former U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and David Jolly from Florida. Hill made comments during the talk, verbally agreeing and disagreeing with the speakers’ points, according to Osran.

The weekly, hourlong class is called “Colloquium in Political Science,” or Political Science 179. It features guest speakers on current events, and this semester’s topic is “Elections 2018.”

Osran, as well as campus junior and ASUC Senator Amir Wright, said Hill demanded their questions be answered even when the instructor, professor Alan Ross, gave them nonverbal and verbal cues to stop talking. According to Wright, Hill’s comments progressed into “small hecklings.”

“Suddenly, (Hill) stood up and started speaking over (the guest speakers),” Osran said. “Alan Ross told (Hill) to stop talking.”

Osran and Wright said Hill then retreated to the back of Wheeler Auditorium but continued to be “disruptive.” Students in the class reportedly told Hill to leave.

As UCPD officers approached Hill, Hill dropped to the ground. Hill was then taken out of the auditorium by the officers, according to Osran and Wright.

“Yes, they’re disruptive, and yes, they kind of impeded the class from progressing. But on what grounds does that mean you can arrest somebody?” Wright said. “That’s what I’m trying to come to terms with, and that’s what I’m trying to figure out with the officers.”

Hill was booked into Berkeley City Jail about 7:13 p.m. and was still detained there as of press time, according to Alameda County Inmate Locator.

Hill — a campus student who is not currently enrolled at UC Berkeley but intends to resume their studies — is running against Rigel Robinson and Cecilia “Ces” Rosales for the City Council District 7 seat. Hill has made police reform one of their campaign platforms, according to their website.

Class proceeded as usual after Hill was arrested.

“It was frustrating for me because I really believe in civil disobedience, but I was in a class and wanted to learn,” Osran said. “I wish (they) had exercised (their) right to protest in a public space — not in a classroom.”

Hill’s arraignment hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26 at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse. Hill could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Contact Danielle Kaye and Sophia Brown-Heidenreich at [email protected].

A previous version of this article’s photo credit misspelled Aidan Hill’s name.