Activist teacher alleges police brutality during Calif. Occupy protest

Dec. 9, 2012 at 7:28 PM   |   Comments

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- An activist California college teacher filed a federal lawsuit, alleging Oakland police roughed him up during an Occupy protest, court records show.

In his civil rights suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Robert Ovetz, 35, of Woodacre alleges he was thrown to the ground and hit twice with a baton by police during a Jan. 28 Occupy protest, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.

A police statement alleged Ovetz had a bicycle he lifted up as if ready to throw it at officers and later waved his arms and hands in officers' faces.

His arrest was recorded on video and posted on YouTube. The Chronicle said the video shows Ovetz was not resisting physically or verbally when city police officer Ercivan Martin struck him on the abdomen and back with a baton.

Ovetz was held for three days on suspicion of felony assault on a police officer, among other alleged crimes.

Alameda County prosecutors dismissed the case June 22.

Ovetz's lawsuit, which names Martin, police Chief Howard Jordan, two other officers and the city of Oakland as defendants, says Ovetz did not resist, and that he was the victim of excessive force, false arrest, and assault and battery.

Matthew Siroka, Ovetz's lawyer, said Ovetz, who has taught sociology and other subjects at Canada College in Redwood City and College of Marin in Kentfield, was at the protest to gather research for a book on why protest movements have become violent.

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