BAMN Files Lawsuit Against UC-Berkeley for Police Brutality at “Occupy Cal” Protest

Photo of press conference announcing lawsuit

BAMN lawyer Monica Smith and some of the plaintiffs (Photo from Daily Californian)


Plaintiffs also demand the dropping of charges against protesters and Chancellor Birgeneau’s resignation

Twenty-four students and community members filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court on Nov. 29, 2011 against the police brutality they suffered at the “Occupy Cal” protest at UC-Berkeley November 9, 2011. The plaintiffs are represented by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).

“I was beaten viciously by police for standing up for my students’ rights to come to this university,” said Yvette Felarca, BAMN National Organizer and teacher at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Middle School. “Birgeneau is an enemy of public education, and it is a scandal that he continues to lead the world’s top public university—he must resign now.”

“The policy of using police beatings and massive pepper-spraying of peaceful students in an attempt to suppress the movement’s defense of public education—like what we have seen at Berkeley and Davis—cannot stand and will not stand,” said Monica Smith, a BAMN attorney.

“The shocking police brutality against students on November 9 was appalling, discriminatory and politically motivated,” said Ronald Cruz, a BAMN attorney. “Birgeneau used police violence against students to try to shut down opposition to his plan to continue to raise student fees and further privatize UC Berkeley.”

BAMN attorneys are also defending many protesters against bogus criminal charges stemming from November 9. BAMN is mounting a mass petition drive demanding that Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley drop the criminal charges against the 38 protesters who were arrested on November 9, 2011.

“The police attack on protesters was completely unwarranted and unacceptable. Our protest was peaceful. The police rioted against us,” said Matt Williams, UC Berkeley senior and BAMN organizer.

The 43-page complaint includes detailed accounts of peaceful protesters being clubbed in the face, yanked by their hair, forcefully jabbed in their chests, stomachs, and groins, and beaten while lying on the ground. Even after the police destroyed students’ tents, they continued to viciously beat people. The complaint can be downloaded at

The defendants are UCB Chancellor Birgeneau, other senior UCB administrators, University of California Police Department Chief Mitchell Celaya, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Chief Gregory Ahern, Oakland Police Department Chief Howard Jordan, and individually-named police officers.

BAMN welcomes more people who want to become plaintiffs in the lawsuit to join.

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  1. Ronald Cruz December 12, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Thanks for the information. We followed-up and found out where he was taken and he has already been released by staff. (Writing this 10:13PM Pacific time). There was absolutely no reason to 5150 him and he has been a very public and visible Occupy supporter who continued to camp over Thanksgiving weekend. Outrageous.

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