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As student protester Alex Barnard puts it:

"On Wednesday, I knowingly violated university policy by setting up a tent on the lawn," Barnard said. "I didn't deserve to be beaten for it, but I am nonetheless prepared to accept the disciplinary consequences of my actions. And so I say to Chancellor Birgeneau -- I'm willing to face the consequences of my actions. Are you?"

It took just two weeks to get the lawsuit in place. It will likely take years to play out, while the settlement amounts (is there any doubt?) will surely be kept under wraps.

On Wednesday, 20 students -- along with a civil rights group, BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) -- will file a lawsuit against UC Berkeley administrators, the UC Police Department, and Alameda County Sheriff's officers. The lawsuit is demanding compensation for police brutality and false arrest, and the violation of students' First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights, during a peaceful demonstration on Berkeley's campus on Nov. 9.

More videos from the press conference announcing the lawsuit

The immediate question that comes to my mind is, "Where is the ACLU?".The ACLU quickly filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Oakland Police Department.  And at UC Davis, according to the New York Times

Some of the Davis students are threatening civil suits against the university on these grounds. The chancellor has called the use of pepper spray "unacceptable" and has put the officers on administrative leave.

"The courts have made it very clear that these type of devices can't be used indiscriminately and should be used only when the target poses a physical threat to someone," said Michael Risher, staff attorney for the A.C.L.U. of Northern California.

So it looks like the ACLU may get involved there. Perhaps the ACLU doesn't "do" getting beaten with batons, just tear gas and spray-ins?

There's nothing wrong with having BAMN lawyers pursue the case, of course. But that organization seems much more a political movement than one set up specifically to defend existing rights:

BAMN is building the movement to end Jim Crow, second-class treatment of black people and other minorities and immigrants, documented and undocumented. We are building a united mass, integrated civil rights movement that will unite black and brown, gay and straight, to win full freedom and equality for all.

We are fighting to defend public education, to defeat budget cuts for education, to defend public jobs and public services, to win college financial aid and citizenship for undocumented immigrant students, and  to make every school, college, city, municipality and state a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. BAMN is also fighting to build a new, international youth leadership for the environmental movement.

The most infuriating thing about all this, aside from, you know, people getting beaten, pepper-sprayed and having their constitutional rights flagrantly violated? When settlements are paid out it's not going to be the Oakland police or the UC Berkeley Administration, or the UC Davis Chancellor that pays them. It's going to be you (if you live in California) and me, in the form of higher taxes, and future students, in the form of even higher "fees".  If anything, the called-for "investigations" will recommend hiring some kind of "compliance" specialist over and above the existing police force -- at $150,000 a year -- to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again (hah). More bureaucracy, instead of comment sense (i.e., "DO NOT BEAT, TEAR GAS OR PEPPER-SPRAY NON-VIOLENT PROTESTERS. DUH!")

"Suckers for $57,000,000, Alex."

"They've had to to shoulder the settlements in police brutality lawsuits Oakland has paid out over the last ten years?"

"Who are Oakland taxpayers?"


The same Oakland taxpayers who just rejected a property tax hike which would have paid for more police and other services...

That plan ((for the money raised by the tax proposal)) included $6.2 million to the Police Department for hiring officers, buying new equipment and hiring crime analysts;

perhaps because they feel like they really don't need to be further subsidizing police actions which cost the city money instead of police patrols which might actually keep the neighborhoods safe.

"Simple questions, simple answers, for $6,200,000."


"Will they ever learn?"


10:22 AM PT: Almost 92,000 people have now signed the petition calling for UC Davis Chancellor Katehi to resign

1:48 PM PT: Lt. Gov. Newsom denounces "senseless violence."

Four days after the pepper spraying incident at UC Davis, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is on vacation out of state, issued a statement Tuesday night condemning the "senseless violence" and praising UC officials for ordering an independent investigation.

"UC students and the people of California deserve a swift, just and thorough independent investigation into this matter," Newsom said in a prepared statement. "Concrete remedies need to be implemented to ensure that peaceful protests on our university campuses are never again met with senseless violence."

3:18 PM PT: :More than 93,000 signatures on the petition. Help make it 100,000

8:52 PM PT: More than 94,000 signatures now.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, California politics, and SFKossacks.

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