UC Berkeley Students' Hearing Continues With Testimony from Defendant

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The hearing for two protesters arrested and charged with misdemeanors during a Feb. 26 riot on Southside continued on Wednesday, with alumnus and defendant Zachary Miller being called to testify.

The trial began with Miller's lawyer, Graham E. Archer, presenting a series of photographs taken of Miller early Feb. 26 after he had been arrested.

One of the photographs depicted a mark on Miller's left forearm, which Miller described as "four inches long, maybe a quarter to a half-inch in width" and said was caused by a baton strike from an officer at the scene.

Miller testified that he had seen an overhand, downward strike used by officers on their first advance toward the line of protesters. Berkeley Police Department Lt. Rico Rolleri, the incident commander on the night of the riot, testified on Nov. 4 that an overhand swing of the baton would not be the proper way to move a crowd because of the danger of hitting someone in the head.

Miller added that he saw Marika Goodrich, another defendant in the case and UC Berkeley alumna, pushed by an officer while she was trying to get up even though she did not swing at any officers. However, he did not recall seeing her being hit by a baton.

Miller was then asked to describe his arrest on the night of Feb. 26, and he explained that he was grabbed by a police officer from both sides and put onto the ground "forcefully and face-first."

"I didn't resist or engage my muscles in any way," Miller said. He added that he was not able to move freely or even attempt to get up[,] and that a pile of people were on top of him applying pressure. However, one of Miller's misdemeanors includes resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer.

The prosecution then questioned Miller as to why he did not step in to prevent various acts of misconduct within the group of protesters, noting that during testimony on Nov. 4, he stated that he had experience with conflict management.

Miller said he felt that it wasn't his role, right or responsibility to do so, that people make their own individual decisions and that it was not his responsibility to judge them.

When asked by the prosecution why he did not call the police or the fire department regarding the two fires that had started on scene, Miller said that people seemed to be aware of the fire and navigated around it on their own.

The prosecution questioned the validity of the protesters' riot, asking Miller whether he knew if the protest was sanctioned by the university and pointing out that Miller and fellow protesters had not obtained permits that allowed them to occupy the intersection of Telegraph and Durant avenues.

Miller stated that, to his knowledge, the protest was not sanctioned by the university.

"I stayed in the intersection because I was standing up for the injustice that I was witnessing," Miller said. "I felt like my friends were in danger and if I left they would be put at further risk from the police officers."

Miller and Goodrich's trial will continue Friday at 9:30 a.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.


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

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