Occupy Sacramento and members of SEIU and other unions marched on Governor Jerry Brown’s loft home Saturday to call for an end to the epidemic of violence by law enforcement agencies against the Occupy movement, as exemplified in the shocking video of police brutally pepper spraying peaceful UC Davis students at a protest.
The video of the November 18 protest (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdDLhPwpp4&utm_source=General&utm_campaign=f6cc05a348-Daily_Update_11_20_2011&utm_medium=email) has gone viral throughout the world, exposing the state of California under Jerry Brown as a virtual police state that routinely uses violence to suppress any dissent to rule by Wall Street and the 1 percent.
After marching from the park, protesters gathered on the other side of 16th Street from the Governor’s loft, yelling, “We are the 99 percent,” “The people united, will never be divided,” “When do we want? Justice! – When do we want it? Now!”
Not surprisingly, Brown was not there to hear the pleas of the protesters. A media advisory that I received from the Governor’s office on Saturday stated, “The Governor has left the state.”
“Governor Brown, we challenge you to take up the fight with Occupy,” said Kevin Carter of Occupy Sacramento. “We occupy for the First Amendment, free speech, peaceful assembly and the redress of grievances against the government. As the Governor, you should lead this fight.”
“We are sick and tired of UC Davis students being maced and sprayed,” said Carter. “We are sick and tired of UC Berkeley students engaged in nonviolent protest being pulverized and having batons shoved into their ribs by police. What gives the police the right to use this type of police brutality?”
Carter concluded, “We the people won’t stand for this injustice. We ask you and the State Attorney General to take the lead to stop these police officers from abusing protesters while peacefully assembling.”
In a similar vein, one of the protesters passionately read a letter from Nathan Brown, Assistant Professor in the Department of English Program in Critical Theory at the University of California at Davis, calling for Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehito to resign.
“Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked,” Brown said
“Police used batons to try to push the students apart,” Brown emphasized. “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.”
“This is what happened. You are responsible for it,” stated Brown.
To send a letter asking Katehi to resign, go to: http://www.change.org/petitions/police-pepper-spray-peaceful-uc-davis-students-ask-chancellor-katehi-to-resign. For more information, go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-UC-Davis/262907633759444
After rallying in front of Brown’s loft, the Occupy Sacramento and union activists marched back to Cesar Chavez Park for a community lunch, teach-ins and the daily General Assembly.
Before the march, Occupy Sacramento co-hosted a jobs creation/putting America Back-To-Work Rally with SEIU at Cesar Chavez Park. A diverse group of teachers, nurses, public employees, laborers, students and the faith community called for job creation at time when California and the U.S. are in the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Sacramento Police, like the UC Davis police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation, have waged a campaign against the Occupy movement in what appears to be a coordinated strategy of repression in conjunction with Department of Homeland Security and other federal law enforcement agencies. The City of Sacramento has arrested 84 people at the park since October 6.
Misdemeanor charges were dismissed on Wednesday, November 16 by the City of Sacramento against nine Occupy Sacramento defendants arrested at Cesar Chavez Park over the last month. They were scheduled for full jury trials December 13, according to Cres Vellucci of Occupy Sacramento.
The City dismissed another 7 charges Friday. Another nine, including anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, will have charges tossed early this coming week. “In all, charges are expected to be dismissed or not filed against 40 individuals, the City has indicated to lawyers for Occupy Sacramento defendants,” said Vellucci.
The City Attorney’s Office confirmed the dismissal of charges in a statement released on November 16, although it vowed to continue prosecuting “defendants charged with multiple violations.”
“On November 16, 2011, the City Attorney’s Office, in the interest of justice, commenced dismissing a limited number of cases that arose out of violations of Sacramento City Code section 12.72.090 (remaining at the park after park hours) at the Cesar Chavez Park,” according to the statement. “Each of the dismissed defendants was arrested and booked at the Sacramento County Jail where defendants spent up to one day in a jail cell.”
“After evaluating the facts of each case and criminal history of each defendant, the City Attorney’s office has determined that the arrest and jail time that each dismissed defendant served achieved the People of the State of California’s demand for substantial justice. The City Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute those defendants charged with multiple violations of Sacramento City Code section 12.72.090 that occurred at Cesar Chavez Park,” the statement concluded.
“This is a vindication not just for the individuals, but for our Constitution and freedom of assembly and speech,” said Karen Bernal, after her charges were dismissed Wednesday. Bernal is the chair of the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus.
For more information about Occupy Sacramento, contact: Cres Vellucci, 916-996-9170, http://www.occupysac.org.