Battle Over Long Haul Raid Sparks U.S. Court Hearing

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 03, 2009 - 12:15:00 PM

The legal battle over a controversial Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force raid on a South Berkeley countercultural icon heads for a key courtroom battle Friday. 

Officers from the UC Berkeley Police Department, the Alameda County sheriff’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Long Haul Info-shop on the morning of Aug. 27, 2008, seizing computers, data disks and hard drives in search of the names of e-mailers who had sent threats to campus animal researchers. 

No arrests have ever been reported as a result of the raid, and the computers and disks were later returned to the Long Haul, a facility at 3124 Shattuck Ave. that houses several independent groups, including one news medium, the periodical Slingshot. 

On Jan. 14, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed suit against the UC Board of Regents, then Campus Police Chief Victoria L. Harrison and the UCPD offices involved in the raid, along with the sheriff’s officers and FBI agent, as well as the FBI itself. 

Friday’s hearing in U.S. District Court before Judge Jeffrey White will hear arguments from the federal government and FBI agents on their motion for their dismissal from the action. 

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Long Haul Infoshop and East Bay Prisoner Support, one of the groups housed in the building, seeks a permanent injunction against further exploratory raids, a ruling from the court that declares the raid violated the groups’ First and Fourth Amendment Rights, damages and legal costs. 

The hearing begins at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 11 of the U.S. District Court, 450 Golden Gate Ave.