Entries in Occupy (6)


UC Davis Settlement: Pepper-Sprayed Students Will Get $30K

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DAVIS, Calif.) -- The University of California regents will pay about $1 million to 21 UC Davis current and former students who were pepper-sprayed during a peaceful campus protest last November.

A video of the incident that went viral shows an officer casually walking up to and aiming a thick stream of the spray directly into the faces of seated students at close range during an Occupy rally.  The incident triggered outrage and an investigation by the university.

In the settlement, each student who filed suit will each receive $30,000 and a handwritten apology from UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.

In addition, the university system has agreed to pay $250,000 for the students’ legal fees.

According to the deal reached earlier this month, the university has set aside $100,000 for additional students hit in the incident who wish to submit claims as a part of the class-action suit.  Those students are set to receive up to $20,000 each depending of the number who come forward.

In the agreement obtained by ABC News, students involved in the November incident will receive “reasonable assistance and counseling” for the “academic performance issues that allegedly arose as a result of the incident.”


The settlement comes as a result of the Nov. 18 Occupy protest at UC Davis.  Students encamped in the university’s quad in protest of rising tuition costs, were warned to leave before being pepper sprayed by campus police.

According the settlement, the university believes “they acted reasonably and with good intentions, without violating the rights.”

The papers filed Wednesday morning will not become official until approved by a federal judge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy Protester Arrested Outside Republican National Convention

Occupy protesters in Tampa. Joe Raedle/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Protesters associated with the Occupy movement blocked traffic outside the Tampa, Fla., arena where the Republican National Convention kicked off Monday, leading to one arrest and police pursuit of several others who were "running through the downtown area," the chief of police said.

A spontaneous march made up of 25 to 30 masked protesters originated about 3 p.m. at the "Romneyville" tent city, several blocks from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of the convention.

"Individuals splintered off from that and have been basically running through the downtown area and we're monitoring them right now just to ensure that everyone is safe and that there's no damage in the downtown area, but so far everything has been very, very successful," Tampa police chief Jane Castor said.

The man, Dominick Delarosa, 20, was arrested when he refused to remove a mask at the request of police.

"There was a group of probably 25 to 30 individuals and many of them put on their masks," Castor said at a news conference. "They were told repeatedly by officers that was a violation of the event ordinance, that they weren't allowed to wear those masks in the event zone.

"Everyone took those masks off with the exception of one individual. The officers again, gave him plenty of warning and leeway to remove that mask. He refused and he was placed under arrest."

By 4:30 p.m., traffic outside the convention center was stalled. Hundreds of officers in riot gear surrounded the protesters, leading to delays to and from the forum.

The protests came at the end of an otherwise-anticlimactic first day of the convention.

What was to be an opening day of pomp and partying stretching into the night instead lasted all of one minute, as the GOP put on hold its plans to nominate Mitt Romney while the Gulf Coast hunkers down in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac.

This year's convention was to be a carefully scripted affair, tightly packing in speeches by many of the party's boldest names.

By losing a day of events because of travel delays and bigger fears that the storm would hit Tampa directly, many speakers were rescheduled or simply canceled.

Democrats also have set up outside the convention, hunkering down in a "war room" to respond in real time to comments made during the event.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protesters 'Occupying' Tampa for GOP Convention

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Occupy Wall Street movement born last year in a New York City park has made its way to Voice of Freedom park in Tampa Bay, Fla., just in time for the GOP convention.

The Occupy Tampa movement has moved into Voice of Freedom park, just outside of downtown Tampa, for the past three months, according to the property owner Joe Redner.  Redner, who also owns an entertainment club two miles away, came across some money after winning a lawsuit against the city a few years back.

“I took that money and bought two lots of land that were known to be drug holes in the West Tampa area,” he said.  “I used the money to buy the lots and create Voice of Freedom Park.”

Redner says that he wanted to put his money towards a cause that would help the community and invited the Occupy movement to make use of his park.

“People have been here for about three months,” Redner tells ABC News, but he says that more have been showing up in the weeks before the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 27-30.

After that, however, the clock will start running down on the occupiers in Voice of Freedom Park.  They will have to leave by Sept. 15.

The city had begun to put pressure on Redner to make the Occupiers leave his property.  Though he is an avid supporter of the Occupy movement, Redner made an agreement with the city, promising that the protesters would be out of Voice of Freedom Park come September.

“I am not making them leave,” Redner says.  “The city was kicking protesters out of public parks downtown.  They were being harassed and getting put in jail.  I thought I was doing the city a favor by letting them stay at my park, but I know they can’t stay forever.”

When asked if the protesters had affected his business or the neighboring area, Redner replied, “Absolutely not. There is no interaction between my business and the demonstrators.”

One of those protesters is Kelly Benjamin, the community organizer for the Occupy Tampa movement. Though he lives in a house and is not camping out alongside other protesters, Benjamin tells ABC News that he will be marching alongside the Occupy movement to “remind politicians that they should we working for the people that they are representing, not their corporate sponsors.”

One of the first protests that he will be involved in is a march for what Benjamin calls “the world’s biggest cocktail party.”

The “cocktail party,” formally known as the kick-off party for the 2012 Republican National Convention, will take place on Sunday, Aug. 26, just before the commencement of the GOP convention.  This event will host politicians, delegates and others in town for the convention.

“We are marching against the world’s biggest cocktail party,” Benjamin says.  “It represents everything that’s broken about our country.  Ordinary people can’t get into the event.  Instead, we’re sent to a designated protest pit.”

Not willing to be contained, the Occupiers will be marching to Tropicana Field in neighboring St. Petersburg.  The march will kick off the beginning of relentless demonstrating during convention week.  A spokesperson from Tropicana tells ABC News that convention events will take place in the stadium, but the protesters most likely won’t be allowed inside because of security reasons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pressure Builds on Occupy DC Encampments

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The government must give Occupy D.C. protesters 24 hours notice if it intends to close encampments at two city parks, a federal court ruled Tuesday, as pressure mounts on one of the last intact major camps for the Occupy movement in the United States.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg told representatives of Occupy on Tuesday that the demonstrators would have a chance to contest any order for eviction before it takes effect.

A National Parks Service deadline for the protesters based in Washington’s McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza to stop “camping” in the parks passed Monday. Government regulations define camping as using park land for “living accommodation purposes such as sleeping.”

The two sites fall under the jurisdiction of the NPS, which was pressed on the subject during a meeting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week.

Demonstrators can remain on 24-hour vigils at the sites, under the right to assembly given by the First Amendment, but there can be no sleeping. Tents, many of which have slogans of the movement painted on them, are allowed to remain as symbols of political protest, but their flaps must be open, allowing clear visibility of the interior. Any equipment seen as evidence of residence -- such as sleeping bags, travel-sized toiletries, pillows, etc. -- must also go.

In addition, protesters must remove a large tarp erected Monday over a statue of Civil War Gen. James McPherson. The makeshift shelter has been dubbed the “Tent of Dreams.”

The park service has retained the right to evict the protesters completely in the event of emergency or urgent health concern.

A number of the parks’ inhabitants have complied voluntarily with the order, but some told ABC News they would remain, with or without approval.

“This is not camping,” one protester said. “This is free speech. We have no other way to reach our government.”

Given the restrictions, Occupy D.C. protesters are mulling their next move. At an emergency general assembly meeting Tuesday the movement decided they would not remove the McPherson statue tarp but would step aside if law enforcement removed it themselves. Some hope the gesture could lead to leniency on the sleeping restrictions.

For two days Park Service Police have led quiet inspections of the camps without incident.

Park police say enforcement of the regulation is in effect but have declined to discuss a timeline for eviction. Officials told McPherson Square residents Tuesday that those who violate the rule will be subject to arrest.

Protesters have expressed fear of a confrontation with police since the camping regulations were first announced Friday.

Occupy D.C. has inhabited the city for four months on its platform against perceived corporate privilege and government corruption. But their long residence has raised sanitation concerns with some city officials. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and health inspectors have cited increased rat populations at the movement’s primary site of McPherson Square, mere blocks from the White House.

Many in each camp’s population are homeless. The majority of middle-class protesters live and sleep elsewhere, coming to the parks on an as-needed basis.

Demonstrators planted a small tree Monday evening in McPherson Square. The “Occutree” is supposed to symbolize their commitment to the environment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy Protesters Mass for Largest Demonstration Since Eviction

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Occupy Wall Street protesters rang in the New Year with a renewed push, holding their largest demonstration since the movement was evicted last month from the lower Manhattan park where it began.

Dozens of protesters were arrested after a confrontation between demonstrators and police when some Occupiers began tearing down barricades around Zuccotti Park, the site where the movement was born.

Police said that one officer was slightly injured after being stabbed in the hand with a pair of scissors. He has since been treated and released from the hospital.

Shortly after midnight, following the clashes, a large police presence was summoned to the march route. Hundreds of protesters — estimates range from 300 to 500 — marched on Broadway in the early hours of the new year.

In all, 68 people were arrested for various offenses, including trespassing, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment, a New York Police Department spokesman told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Denver Cops Call Occupy Protesters ‘Hippies,’ ‘Civic Center Yahoos’

Natalie Behring/Getty Images(DENVER) -- The Denver Police Department apologized Wednesday after revealing officers exchanged text messages that referred to Occupy Denver protesters as “retards,” “hippies” and “civic center yahoos.”

In one of the texts sent using a car-to-car messaging system, dated Nov. 4, an officer responds to another about the growing size of the crowds, writing: “yup. but they claim to be peacefully protesting. I say we just baton the people who start to incite everyone. the rest who are peaceful, let em stay lol.”  

In a message from Oct. 13, officers discuss problems that might arise from protesters getting kicked out of Denver’s Civic Center Park: “probably little problems from the ‘real’ protesters, but the grungy hippies and the usual civic center yahoos will more than likely be a problem.”

Another officer wrote on Nov. 12: “This occupy s**t has got out of hand because this liberal administration has allowed them to.”

On the same date, one officer even boasts about setting up a Twitter account to harass Occupy Denver protesters: “a few of us set up a twitter account to harass the ‘occupy denver’ people … a video was posted with the [motorcycle] mc offcr a few weeks ago who’s bike was pushed … totally incriminating the guy and all the protesters were demanding on the video being taken down. was pretty funny. i love watching idiots make a fool of themselves … doesn’t get any better.”

Another officer refers to protesters as a "buncha occupy denver retards."

In a news release, the Denver Police Department called the behavior “inappropriate,” but noted “many Denver Police Officers have endured months of having to leave their families to come into work, giving up their days off and silently tolerating hours of taunting and abusive actions by some protestors.”

The department is taking steps to “remind all officers of our expectations,” Lt. Matt Murray, a police spokesman, said in a news release.

The messages were released, the statement said, “in a desire to be transparent to the people we serve.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio