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Protesters Arrested For I-80 Shutdown Pack Oakland Court; No Charges Filed Yet

OAKLAND (CBS SF) - About 100 people who were arrested in an anti-police brutality protest in Berkeley last month appeared in court Tuesday but charges haven't been filed against them.

Alameda County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said Tuesday that prosecutors have not yet received reports from the California Highway Patrol for any of the people arrested for infractions or misdemeanors in the protest on Dec. 8 so cannot predict how many might be charged.

CHP officials said they arrested 210 people in the demonstration, which included protesters shutting down Interstate Highway 80.

CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld issued a statement Tuesday saying investigators have up to a year to present cases to the district attorney's office.

"Although we are working diligently to expedite these reports being submitted to the District Attorney, we will not sacrifice a complete and thorough investigation for the sake of time," Wilkenfeld said.

Attorney Ronald Cruz of the activist group By Any Means Necessary, who represents many of the protesters who were arrested on Dec. 8, said the demonstrators sought justice for Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York, two unarmed black men who were killed by white police officers last year.

Similar protests have been held on many other occasions throughout the Bay Area and the country in the past two months.

Cruz said he thinks the district attorney shouldn't file charges against any of the protesters in the Dec. 8 action, even those who inconvenienced motorists by blocking I-80.

Woman Goes Into Labor While Stuck In Traffic After Protesters Shut Down I-80 In Berkeley

"The underlying issue is if a police badge is a license to kill," Cruz said.

The protests would end if the officers who killed Brown and Garner were charged, he said.

Demonstrators who were arrested on Dec. 8 were given notices to appear at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland Tuesday and about 100 of them packed a hallway outside of a courtroom.

However, bailiffs told many of them that they won't face charges.

Bailiffs told some protesters to call the district attorney's office later Tuesday to find out if they've been charged and told others that prosecutors have up to a year to file charges against them.

Attorney Dennis Cunningham, who represents some of the protesters, said he believes authorities are trying to inconvenience protesters by requiring them to show up at the courthouse and wait for hours to find out if they will be charged.

"This doesn't happen accidentally," Cunningham said.

Cruz said he believes police are trying to "intimidate people" by arresting protesters but he said demonstrators haven't been dissuaded and plan to continue staging actions.



© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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