Occupy Oakland Protesters Charged with Hate Crimes for Stealing Wallet, Protest Planned
|A typical Occupier|
The hating officially enters the criminal justice system today, when three Occupy Oakland protesters will appear in Alameda County Superior Court on charges of felony theft and hate crimes for lobbing gay slurs while allegedly stealing a wallet, according to reports.
Occupy, you can imagine, is none too pleased with what the movement's website calls "false and outrageously inflated charges," and will react at their comrades' 2 p.m. court appearance today with -- what else? -- a protest.
Alameda County officials did not immediately respond to queries from SF Weekly on Monday morning. Michael Davis, 32, Nneka Crawford, 23, and Randolph Wilkins, 24, were charged in Alameda County Superior Court on Friday after their arrests Feb. 29, according to Reuters.
The trio allegedly confronted a woman after she told them not to riot in her neighborhood, Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. The Occupiers reacted with "vulgar epithets regarding their perception of her sexual orientation," and were arrested by police after the woman broke free and alerted the authorities, Watson said.
All three are being held in Alameda County Jail on $100,000 bail each. The victim was only described as a "20-year resident of the neighborhood." Her name, age, and identity were not revealed.
Hate crimes are serious offenses, but as an SF Weekly investigation of the San Francisco Hate Crimes Unit revealed, they're hard to prove, and often make for nothing more than splashy headlines about charges that are ultimately dropped. And if hate crime charges were filed every time a person or used any of the choice words found in our vernacular regarding someone's sexuality, the courts would be busy indeed.
Further, Oaklanders must often wait hours or longer for police to respond to burglaries or auto break-ins, so it makes one wonder if police's publicized love for Occupy sped this case along.
In any event, Occupy is planning a rally outside the courthouse at Seventh and Washington streets at 2 p.m. today "to protest this gross manipulation of the 'justice' system to target members of our movement. We will also be holding a celebration to honor the birthday of one of these jailed occupiers."
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