Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Thousands of UC Davis students and Occupy protesters shouted at UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi yesterday, demanding that she resign after she apologized for the police-pepper-spray debacle, the Chron reports. The two UC Davis cops who pepper-sprayed nonviolent protesters as they sat on campus, linked arm-in-arm, have been placed on administrative leave, as has the campus police chief. The pepper-spray scandal also has thrust UC Davis into the national spotlight and made it the new focal point of the Occupy movement.
As you may have heard over the weekend, a massive fire broke out in Berkeley Friday night, seriously damaging the building on the southwest corner of Haste and Telegraph, which houses Intermezzo, Raleigh's Bar and Grill, and Thai Noodle II, in addition to 39 apartment units. The fire, which is reportedly the biggest in the East Bay since the 1991 hills fire, burned for seventeen hours, rendering the apartment units inside the building uninhabitable, the street-level businesses destroyed, and the building itself structurally unstable. According to SFist, there were no apparent injuries, and the cause of the fire was still unknown as of this morning. Here is an absolutely bananas video of the melee, from YouTuber dbrekke:
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Oakland police cleared a new Occupy Oakland encampment yesterday at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street, the Trib and Chron report. Protesters established the new tent city on Saturday night in a city-owned vacant lot. There were no arrests or injuries. OPD also cleared the last city encampment at Snow Park early this morning, but many protesters had already left in anticipation of the raid, according to numerous reports on Twitter. In San Francisco, police raided a satellite occupy encampment yesterday but left the main one at Justin Herman Plaza intact.
UC Davis got all shook up Friday following an incident in which campus police demonstrated that they, too, don't have a clue about how to deal with peaceful protesters. The video below centers on a group of campus police officers dispatched Friday to clear out the remaining occupiers who had camped overnight in the quad, after a week of peaceful demonstrations. In a shabby spectacle, an officer empties his pepper spray canister at close range on a small group of seated individuals. The victims, mostly students, bury their heads in their shirts for protection, eventually incapacitated enough to be easily carried away.
As the nearly-ten minute video progresses, though, it becomes clear that the group of officers has no exit strategy. With guns drawn, they are nearly surrounded by the overwhelming group of (still peaceful) protesters. In a rousing show of solidarity, a "mic check" is called. The protesters inform the police: "We are willing to give you a brief moment of peace; so that you may take your weapons, and our friends, and go. Please do not return. We are giving you a moment of peace." Thankfully, the cops take the hint, and slink away to the chant "you can go".
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi issued a statement this morning promising a task force investigation and a reevaluation of how peaceful protesters are dealt with on campus. Her response is hardly more comforting that that of UC Berkeley's Chancellor Birgeneau, who simply expressed "regret" at the violent use of batons on his students last week, and promised a vague and standard "operational review" of UCPD tactics.
Update: In an open letter and petition to Chancellor Katehi, UC Davis English professor Nathan Brown described the aftermath of the police action shown in the video:
Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. San Francisco officials declared Occupy SF to be a public health nuisance yesterday, but concerns about an overnight raid by police turned out to be unfounded, the Chron reports. The encampment has thinned out a bit from a high of about 200 tents, but there are still more tents at Justin Herman Plaza than Mayor Ed Lee’s demand of about 100. Lee, however, has taken a cautious approach to Occupy SF and has not been under the intense pressure to clear the encampment as Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was with Occupy Oakland.
Both the Trib and the Chron report that Occupy Oakland activist Francisco "Pancho" Ramos Stierle, who was arrested early Monday morning while meditating on the steps of City Hall, will be released from federal immigration pending a hearing before a judge. Stierle, who immigrated to the US from Mexico to study astrophysics at Cal, but ultimately dropped out over misgivings about nuclear arms development, became a cause célèbre after his arrest during Monday's raid. Alameda County prosecutors ultimately dropped the two misdemeanor charges against him, for loitering and failure to disperse.
Today marked another turning point in the protracted battle over Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative that passed in 2008. The issue: Can the backers of a controversial initiative prevail over public officials who oppose them, once their initiative wins the popular vote? California Supreme Court ruled that they can. This morning's ruling paved the way for conservative Prop 8 proponents to represent the state's interest, and appeal a federal judge's decision to repeal the initiative, Chron writer Bob Egelko reports. In her opinion, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye stressed the importance of upholding California's initiative process, and indicated that a voter-approved initiative need not be abrogated, simply because the governor and attorney general refuse to defend it in court. That could mean Prop 8 will eventually face the US Supreme Court after it hits the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in December.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. UC Berkeley police and other law enforcement agencies raided the new Occupy Cal encampment on campus early this morning, clearing the forty or so tents that had sprung up on Sproul Plaza, the Chron and Trib report. The Occupy Cal encampment was smaller than the night before, and easier for police to clear, because many Occupy Cal protesters were in San Francisco yesterday for a large march through the city.
2. During that San Francisco march, protesters took over a Bank of America branch and occupied it, setting up a tent inside the bank and refusing to leave, the Chron and Trib report. About 100 protesters linked themselves arm-in-arm and chanted “Shame, Shame,” until they were eventually arrested by police. Some also shouted: “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”
Reich may be diminutive in stature, but his ideas are huge. The UC Berkeley public policy professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor is famously outspoken on issues of wealth and poverty (he teaches a class with that very title, after all), and has a keenly activist bent on the subject. He gave a rousing speech last night, to rally the thousands of students, alumni, and other Occupiers stationed at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza, and you can hear the entire speech below, courtesy The Daily Californian.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that the undergraduate shot by UC Berkeley police died at Highland Hospital last night. The 32 year old Haas business school student was cornered in a third floor computer lab at 2:20 p.m. yesterday, after a staff member glimpsed a firearm in his backpack, SFAppeal reports. When campus police tried to apprehend the suspect, he brandished the gun, apparently with no intent to surrender. The suspect refused to comply after officers repeatedly ordered him to drop the weapon. One of them opened fire, shooting the student fatally. No one else was injured; both the Chron and Trib report there is no evidence to link this shooting to yesterday's Occupy Cal demonstration.