Police Officers' House Calls Surprise Student Activists

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Officers from the UCSF Police Department and UCPD have attempted to contact several UC Berkeley students arrested at the protest of the UC Board of Regents meeting on Nov. 17 - by making unannounced visits to their homes - as part of an ongoing investigation into the day's events.

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office requested that the UCSF Police Department obtain additional information on individual cases of students arrested at the protest, which is necessary to proceed in a court of law, according to Erica Terry Derryck, a spokesperson at the district attorney's office. Police officers carried out these requests by unexpectedly showing up at students' homes instead of trying to contact them over the phone, a decision that some of the protesters interpreted as an "intimidating" form of "silencing people," they said.

ASUC External Affairs Vice President Ricardo Gomez was one of the students who UCPD officers attempted to contact at his home.

Gomez said UCPD officers came to his apartment at about 12:40 p.m. on Nov. 22 and added he did not like the way police officers were "showing up at people's residences unannounced, betting on people not knowing their rights and (feeling) obligated to talk."

"Being contacted where we live and at different organizing meetings also had a chilling effect on different people who are actively organizing on campus," Gomez said.

Erica Ashby, a UC Berkeley senior who had been arrested at the Nov. 17 protest, was another one of the students the UCSF Police Department detectives tried to contact at home.

Ashby was not home on Nov. 23 when two UCSF Police Department detectives arrived around noon. She was informed of the visit by her building manager, who told her the detectives wanted to know if Ashby had "seen anything else" at the meeting.

"I thought it was kind of strange that they never gave me a phone call to see if I would be there," she said. "It seems as if they're trying to intimidate by showing up unexpectedly."

According to Gomez, another student activist who was involved in the protest - who was not arrested but gave lengthy interviews to the press - was also visited by police officers.

UCPD Capt. Margo Bennett said by e-mail that the UCSF department asked for assistance to "accompany their investigators on the follow ups as their ... resources were limited."

UCSF spokesperson Amy Pyle said police officers are currently conducting a criminal investigation in order to take proposed criminal charges to the district attorney's office and cannot disclose details about the investigation.

Regarding visits to students who were not arrested, Pyle said the UCSF Police Department was interviewing many people at many campuses.

Bennett added in the e-mail that not all police officer contacts with students were related to the regents' meeting protest.


Contact Jessica Gillotte at [email protected]

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