14 Wheeler Hall Protesters Charged with Misdemeanors

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Fourteen of the 17 protesters arrested in the March 2 Wheeler Hall sit-in were charged with misdemeanors Monday afternoon, while the remaining three will not have charges filed against them, according to Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick.

Eleven protesters were charged on a single count of trespassing by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Three were charged with both trespassing and obstruction of a peace officer after allegedly being carried out of Wheeler by the police in order to be arrested.

The three protesters arrested and booked on the additional charge of obstruction of a peace officer - Jason Ozolins, Laney College student Elizabeth Bamaca and San Francisco State University student Michael Veremans - have an arraignment scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on March 18.

"We were in Wheeler Hall 15 minutes after its closing," Veremans said. "Kids do that every day. In my opinion, they were politically motivated arrests ... we were basically put into jail as political dissenters, so it's becoming a social justice issue."

The district attorney's office has chosen to not file charges against the three remaining March 2 protesters "in the interest of justice," Drenick said.

Eight out of the nine protesters from the March 3 protests were cited for trespassing at the scene on Thursday after agreeing to come down from the ledge of Wheeler Hall. The ninth, UC Berkeley junior Alex Poska, was arrested for trespassing with intent to damage property earlier in the day after being pulled off the ledge into the building by UCPD.

"The only damage done was to my clothing by the police," Poska said.

After being processed at the Berkeley Jail Facility, Poska was released later that evening and has an arraignment scheduled for April 5.

The district attorney's office has yet to receive paperwork from UCPD regarding the March 3 protesters and has therefore not yet determined whether or not to file charges.

Contact Emma Dries at [email protected]

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