Occupy Berkeley: New Report Says Cops Were Definitely Too Mean During Protests
A new report released this week sides with UC Berkeley protesters, claiming police were a bit too heavy-handed during last fall's protests when they repeatedly clubbed student protesters with batons.
Students had been camped out on Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Nov. 9, 2011, when police stormed in, attempting to breakdown tents, and that's when the chaos began.
According to the report, put together by the campus five-panel Police Review Board committee, "the vigor of these baton thrusts is most distressing. The police hit some students while they seemed bent over in pain from prior strikes to the gut."The confrontation between police and protesters was caught on video and of course sparked widespread criticism as well as a lawsuit which accused police of brutality against two dozen students and community members who were protesting as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The school chancellor had warned protesters of the no-camping policy at Berkeley, however, it seems he gave little instructions to campus on how to enforce this rule, the report concluded.
In the end, the committee decided that the school needs to do a better job at communicating the consequences protesters might endure should they ignore these protesting rules in the future. Also, the school needs to decide, specifically, how much force cops can use in these situations, the report said.
In any event, the chancellor says he's sorry.
"We truly regret that our processes were not adequate for handling the particular challenges of that day," Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said in response to the report. "Our management of the protest was inconsistent at times with safeguarding the norms expected of Berkeley to protect free speech and assembly."
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