Protesters Involved in Feb. 26 Riot Found Not Guilty of All Charges

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Two protesters involved in the Feb. 26 Southside riot were acquitted of all charges Monday following a short deliberation by jurors.

The defendants - Zachary Miller, an alumnus of UC Berkeley, and Marika Goodrich, a senior at the time of the riot - had been charged with misdemeanors and were arrested during the protest.

Miller had been charged with resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer and attempted removal of a non-firearm weapon from a peace officer, while Goodrich was charged with misdemeanor assault against a peace officer.

According to Goodrich's attorney, John Hamasaki, the jury quickly came back with a decision because it thought the evidence presented over the past two weeks did not support the prosecution's case against the pair.

"In some sense the verdict was predictable, given the facts of the case; and yet, for 12 people to reach a unanimous decision in our favor, after having heard the entirety of our account - was a powerfully liberating experience," Miller said in an e-mail.

Berkeley Police Department officer Byron White previously testified on Nov. 4 that a group of officers had advanced into the crowd of protesters on the night of the riot and that he used his baton a number of times to strike them, with multiple people ending up on the ground.

White also testified that Goodrich had swung a closed fist at his crotch, however during cross-examination by Hamasaki, he added that he had not actually seen Goodrich swing, but that he had felt something move up against his uniform near his crotch. When he looked down, he saw Goodrich's hand withdrawing in a closed fist and inferred that she had tried to swing at him.

On Friday, Goodrich - the last witness to testify - said that she was dancing at the intersection of Telegraph and Durant avenues when she was knocked to the ground and struck repeatedly with a baton.

Goodrich testified that her recollection after she had been hit was hazy, but stated that she did not try to strike any officer the evening of Feb. 26.

Another Berkeley police officer, Douglas Golden, testified that he had struck eight to 10 people with his baton and delivered over 20 baton strikes on the night of the incident. White and Golden said they did not record the use of force in the police reports they wrote after the incident on Feb. 26.

In regards to Miller's charges of obstructing a peace officer and attempting to remove a non-firearm weapon from a peace officer, Miller testified on Nov. 10 that he did take a baton out of an officer's hands, but that he was only trying to stop himself from being hit and that he did not intend to obstruct the officer.

Tags: SOUTHSIDE RIOT, BERKELEY POLICE DEPARTMENT, ZACHARY MILLER, MARIKA GOODRICH


Gabby Fastiggi covers the courts. Contact her at [email protected]



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