May 8, 2012
Occupy UC Davis Antirepression Crew Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|What:||Call-In to Oppose Prosecution of the 12 UCD Protesters|
|Contact:||Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 or Fax: (530) 666-8423|
|Support:||Come to the Arraignment on Thursday, May 10th, 8:30am at the Yolo
County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213, Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695
Just months after UC Davis police pepper sprayed seated students in the face during a protest against university privatization and police brutality, Chancellor Linda Katehi’s administration is trying to send some of the same students to prison for their alleged role in protests that led to the closure of a US Bank branch on campus.
On 29 March, weeks after an anti-privatization action against US Bank ended with the closure of the bank’s campus branch, 11 UC Davis students and one professor received orders to appear at Yolo County Superior Court. District Attorney Jeff Reisig is charging campus protesters with 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place, and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, the protesters could face up to 11 years each in prison, and $ 1 million in damages.
The charges were brought at the request of the UC Davis administration, which had recently received a termination letter from US Bank holding the university responsible for all costs, claiming they were “constructively evicted” because the university had not responded by arresting the “illegal gathering.” Protesters point out that the charges against them serve to position the university favorably in a potential litigation with US Bank.
Three of the protesters had received summons from UCD Student Judicial Affairs in mid-February, and it was only after US Bank announced that it had permanently closed its doors that the UCD administration requested that the DA bring criminal charges against the 12. Supporters argue that the university is targeting the dozen in order to limit its liability to US Bank and that the university is effectively using public funds (through the DA’s office) to protect a private corporation’s right to profit from increasingly indebted students at an increasingly expensive public university.
Among the 12 are some of the protesters pepper sprayed by campus police during the infamous November incident. But whereas the District Attorney declined to file charges against protesters then, this less publicized prosecution seems to be an attempt to punish the dissenting students, perhaps in retaliation for their pending ACLU lawsuit against the university. “We might not think of this as violence, because there aren’t broken bones or pepper spray or guns it’s not as explicit—but sending someone to jail, holding them for a day, let alone 11 years, is violence,” said Andrew Higgins, a graduate student in History and representative of the UC graduate student union.
Supporters are requesting that the public contact the Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 and voice their opposition to this prosecution. Supporters also request public attendance on the day of their arraignment, Thursday May 10th, 8:30am at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213 Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695. The website in support of the 12 accused is http://www.davisdozen.org.
Please direct all inquiries and interview requests to:
Q: What are the charges?
A: The Banker’s Dozen face 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place, and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, the protesters could face up to 11 years each in prison, and $ 1 million in damages.
Q: When are the court dates?
A: The initial arraignment is currently set for Thursday, May 10, 8:30 a.m. at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213 Third Street, Woodland CA 95695.
Q: What can media do to help?
A: Please help circulate our press releases. Tell our story. Spread the word about our solidarity campaigns (see How to Help).