Updated: Berkeley Police Threaten to Evict Occupy Berkeley Encampment Tonight--Councilmembers Not Consulted

Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 10:24:00 AM

It appears that Berkeley's city administrators plan to close down the Occupy Berkeley encampment tonight at 10, though they have not informed the public or councilmembers who have been visiting the encampment about their plans.

Last night (Tuesday) at 10 p.m. the Berkeley Police passed out this flyer to those in the Occupy Berkeley encampment, announcing their intention of evicting Occupiers tonight:



Berkeley Municipal Code ("BMC") § 6.32.020 prohibits being in a City park from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. This park is closed at 10:00 p.m. Starting December 21,2011, this law will be enforced. Persons in this park after 10:00 p.m. will be subject to arrest for violating BMC §6.32.020 and their property will be removed.

Penal Code § 647(e) prohibits lodging on City property without permission from the,City. No one has permission to lodge in this park. Persons who are camping in this park are violating Penal Code § 647(e).

Starting December 21, 2011, anyone found camping in this park will be required to remove their tent and other property being used for lodging here. Persons who fail to remove their tent and other property used for lodging in this park will be subject to arrest for violating Penal Code § 647(!) and their property will be removed."
On the reverse side of the flyer was a list of the city's homeless shelters. 

One of the protesters, who uses "B" as his name, sent this email message to protesters and supporters urging attendance at tonight's 6:00 General Assembly, which will be an opportunity for campers to decide how to react to any forceable eviction.: 

"Tomorrow's GA is probably the most important one ever please come if possible bring all friends and allies of #OB." 

It is not clear who made the decision to evict the protesters, or what the exact game plan for the eviction action might be. 

Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington told the Planet that "I didn't get any notice as a City Councilmember." Councilmember Susan Wengraf said "It's news to me."  

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who has authored a detailed proposal for how to deal with Occupy Berkeley, said that he is "very disappointed" that City Manager Chris Daniel and Police Chief Michael Meehan have not discussed whatever plan they might have for tonight's action with him, despite the fact that he met with Daniel yesterday. 

Daniel told the Planet today that "the statements we have issued speak for themselves" and would not comment any further on what the city's plans might be. The only statement on record from her office about the Occupy encampment is not listed under the city's press releases nor on its news page, but can be found here. It has no specific information about tonight's scenario.  

The Berkeley City Council will not meet until early January. 

The Berkeley Police Department's Public Information Officer, Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, told the Planet she had received no information about the police plan, and the city's media relations officer has not returned phone calls about it.