BAMN Press Release 6/14/2012:
BAMN serves UC-Berkeley administrators and police $15 million from UC-Berkeley for police brutality and political witchhunt against Occupy Cal protesters
Protesters amend police-brutality lawsuit to add charges of false arrest and retaliatory prosecution
On Wednesday, June 13, BAMN served a federal lawsuit, on behalf of 30 plaintiffs, to UC-Berkeley administrators and police for brutality against an Occupy Cal protest November 9, 2011, demanding $15 million as redress for police brutality, false arrests and UCB’s political witchhunt against protesters.
“We demand justice. Education is a right, and people fighting to defend it should not be met with brutality and political witchhunt by UC-Berkeley or any other university administration,” said Yvette Felarca, lead plaintiff and BAMN national organizer. She is the first person struck and the target of multiple baton blows in the YouTube video that went viral of November 9 police brutality.
“We want this to set the precedent for every university administration, that they will not attack our right to protest for public education. Through the course of this lawsuit, we will use every means at our disposal, including legal and direct action, to expose UC-Berkeley’s policy of political suppression and win justice,” Felarca said.
The complaint, newly amended since it was originally filed with the U.S. District Court last November, demands $7.5 million in compensatory damages for physical and emotional harm and denial of constitutional rights, and $7.5 million in punitive damages.
In March, the University and district attorney charged Felarca and four other plaintiffs with misdemeanor charges and imposed illegitimate stayaway orders banning them from 100 yards from all UC property. The vast majority of the criminal charges and all the stayaway orders have since been dropped.
“The amended lawsuit now includes five more individuals who were arrested November 9 demanding redress for false arrest, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to thirty. Also, five of the plaintiffs who joined this lawsuit last November were subsequently prosecuted on bogus criminal charges by the University—a clear case of retaliatory prosecution for filing this lawsuit and being outspoken leaders in the movement,” said Ronald Cruz, BAMN attorney and organizer.