BAMN and twenty-nine protesters suing UC-Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau, other administrators, UCPD, and Alameda County Sheriffs for $15 million for excessive force, false arrest, and violation of their First Amendment rights from the Nov. 9, 2011 Occupy Cal protest filed an extensive brief in federal district court Wednesday to prevent the dismissal of Birgeneau and other UCB administrators named in the suit.
The brief is one of three filed by protesters this week, opposing motions to dismiss from UCB administrators, UCPD officers, and Alameda County officers respectively.
The brief includes internal communications among administrators and other evidence supporting its central contentions: (1) selective enforcement of “no camping” policy and discrimination against protesters’ views opposing tuition hikes and privatization in violation of the First Amendment, (2) the administrators were personally responsible for the police’s actions, and (3) no legal basis existed for using police force. The brief states:
“Faced with overwhelming condemnation of the administration’s actions, defendant Chancellor Birgeneau apologized for the events of November 9, 2011… But before this court of law, he now claims he is not responsible.”
“The UC-Berkeley administration had allowed an encampment against South African apartheid and the defendants in particular had allowed an encampment against Arizona’s SB 1070 law, because they agreed with its positions, but suddenly had a ‘no camping’ policy when it came to protesting tuition hikes and privatization, a view with which the defendant administrators disagreed.”
“There was no valid legal basis for using force… This was exactly the finding of [the UC-Davis pepper spray report], which examined a near-identical situation at UC-Davis November 18, 2011, in which campus police declared an unlawful assembly and used force against protesters who were standing in the vicinity of tents in the middle of the day.”
The protesters are represented by attorneys from the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
The case is before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the U.S. Northern District Court of California. The case number is 4:11-cv-5719.