Trial Begins for Feb. 26 Protesters
Friday, November 5, 2010
Category: News > City > Courts
The hearing for two protesters arrested during a Feb. 26 riot on Southside began Wednesday, continuing Thursday with witnesses for both the defense and prosecution being called to testify.
The defendants - alumna Marika Goodrich, a UC Berkeley senior at the time of the riot, and alumnus Zachary Miller - were charged with misdemeanors and pleaded not guilty to all counts in the Alameda County Superior Court.
Goodrich was charged with misdemeanor assault against a peace officer, while Miller was charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer and attempted removal of a non-firearm weapon from a peace officer.
The prosecution called Berkeley Police Department officer Byron White to the stand, who testified that officers present during the riot were justified in using force against the protesters and that the protesters were given plenty of opportunities to move away from police.
White said he yelled as loudly as he could at the rioters to move and that policy states if someone comes within an officer's safety zone after they are told to move, the officer is allowed to give them a forceful shove backwards. He added that Miller grabbed his baton at one point during the riot.
The defense called Anna Jaffrey - a UC Berkeley junior and friend to Goodrich and Miller - to explain the events that occurred at the riot. She said the police gave no warning to move back from their line and began advancing toward the group of protesters.
When asked by Goodrich's attorney, John M. Hamasaki, whether she was harmed, Jaffrey replied that the police pushed her with a baton in a kind of violent shove that caused her to fall.
She added that Goodrich was also shoved, resulting in a bloody nose.
Miller was then brought to the stand and questioned by his lawyer, Graham E. Archer, and testified that the week-long "Rolling University" demonstration on campus and protests in February were structured to make people feel safe and comfortable to participate - the protesters did not plan to block the intersection or perform any acts of vandalism, he said.
"We were just dancing and enjoying ourselves," Miller said, adding that he began getting nervous because he could tell that it was a possibly dangerous situation. However, he said he never heard a dispersal order from the police.
The Berkeley police lieutenant commanding the scene, Lt. Rico Rolleri, said the crowd was "unlawful, unruly and at some points chaotic and dangerous."
"I had glass in my uniform from bottles that were being thrown around me," Rolleri said.
He added that it is up to the individual officer's discretion based on policy and law when to use force against another person.
Miller and Goodrich's trial will continue next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse.
A photo caption accompanying an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the subject of the photo was Zachary Miller. In fact, the photo depicted Marika Goodrich.
The Daily Californian regrets the error.
Gabby Fastiggi covers the courts. Contact her at [email protected]
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