News

Stanford students arrested after protest shuts down San Mateo bridge

MLK Day civic action tied to Ferguson protest

Dozens of protestors, including Stanford students, were arrested Monday night after they shut down traffic for more than an hour on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, according to the California Highway Patrol.

More than 100 demonstrators stormed the Bay Area bridge in a "Reclaim MLK" rally late Monday afternoon, Jan. 19, to highlight injustices against African Americans.

The rally was to support the Ferguson Action's national demands, which include the demilitarization of local law enforcement and repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community-based alternatives to incarceration, Silicon Shutdown organizers said in a press release.

The group made their way on eastbound and westbound lanes of state Highway 92 on the bridge at the high-rise around 4:50 p.m., CHP Officer Daniel Hill said.

The protesters had been dropped off by cars on westbound lanes and briefly made their way to both sides of the freeway, he said.

The protesters blocked the westbound side of the bridge for 28 minutes to symbolize the fact that every 28 hours a black person is killed by a police officer or vigilante, organizers said.

During the protest, students held banners calling attention to the violence committed against black communities, as well as the Palestinian and Mexican flags as an act of public solidarity with victims of state-sponsored and U.S.-sponsored violence in Mexico and Palestine, organizers said.

The demonstration is one of several events nationwide coinciding with the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"We are honoring MLK's legacy by forcefully reminding Silicon Valley that, decades after Martin Luther King, black lives, and brown lives, and the lives of all oppressed people, still matter," participant Maria Diaz said in the press release.

The group was given the opportunity to leave the scene peacefully, but 68 people who didn't comply with orders from officers were detained, Hill said.

The arrested protesters were transported to San Mateo County Jail, and charged with disobeying a lawful order of a peace officer and obstructing the free movement of others, Hill said.

The protesters were peaceful and did not become violent, he added.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff/Bay City News

Comments

15 people like this
Posted by Asok Asus
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 19, 2015 at 7:56 pm

This is simple to fix: new state laws specifying mandatory minimum state prison sentences of 2-3 years without parole for first time offenders convicted of deliberately obstructing commerce and triple fines equal to estimated economic and personal losses, with police forces being REQUIRED to IMMEDIATELY arrest any and all attempting such obstruction.


4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 8:00 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 8:06 pm

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm

No one is listening to the cause anymore. They are just tired of the disruptions to daily life.


5 people like this
Posted by Keep-The-Roads-And-Bridges-Open
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm

The Stanford Daily seems to be carrying a slightly different version of why the so-called students decided to shutdown the bridge—

Web Link

The rally is to support the Ferguson Action's national demands, which include the demilitarization of local law enforcement and repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community-based alternatives to incarceration, Silicon Shutdown organizers said in a press release.

Hordes of protesters blocked the westbound side of the bridge for 28 minutes to symbolize the fact that every 28 hours a black person is killed by a police officer or vigilante, organizers said.

“This [action] is in defense of all black lives. We stand with black men and women. We act when black queer and trans lives are threatened. We defend the rights of our black family when we are poor, disabled and incarcerated,” wrote Silicon Shut Down organizers in their public statement.

During the demonstration, students held banners calling attention to the violence committed against black communities as well as the Palestinian and Mexican flags as an act of public solidarity with victims of state-sponsored and U.S.-sponsored violence in Mexico and Palestine.

“Combating the triplets of racism, militarism and materialism was one of the biggest legacies King left us,” said participant Kristian Davis Bailey ’14 in a public statement. “We proudly carry the Palestinian flag as we call on Stanford to divest from human rights violations in the occupation and related state violence in the U.S. The recent trip of Black Lives Matter and Ferguson representatives to Palestine signifies these movements are coming together on a global scale.”
-----

"We proudly carry the Palestinian flag .. kind of suggests that in addition to hi-jacking the San Mateo Bridge, MLK's day was also stolen.

It's unlikely that any of these kids have little, or no, idea about how much crime goes on in the US. The following is from an FBI press release about 2012 crime stats--

Web Link
.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2012-crime-statistics

A total of 18,290 city, county, state, university and college, tribal, and federal agencies participated in the UCR program in 2012. A summary of the statistics reported by these agencies, which are included in Crime in the United States, 2012, follows:

In 2012, there were an estimated 1,214,462 violent crimes. The violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, and aggravated assault increased 1.1 percent, 0.2 percent, and 1.1 percent, respectively. However, the estimated number of robbery offenses declined 0.1 percent.

Nationwide, there were an estimated 8,975,438 property crimes. The estimated number of burglaries declined 3.7 percent in 2012 when compared to the 2011 figure. The estimated number of larceny-thefts remained unchanged, and motor vehicle thefts increased 0.6 percent.

Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses calculated at $15.5 billion in 2012.

The FBI estimated that agencies nationwide made about 12.2 million arrests, excluding traffic violations, in 2012. The arrest rate for violent crime was 166.3 per 100,000 inhabitants, and the rate for property crime was 528.1 per 100,000 inhabitants.
By violent crime offense, the arrest rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was 3.5; forcible rape, 5.8; robbery, 33.1; and the aggravated assault, 123.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By property crime offense, the arrest rate for burglary was 90.7; larceny-theft, 411.9; and motor vehicle theft, 21.9. The arrest rate for arson was 3.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.

In 2012, there were 14,006 law enforcement agencies that reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2012, they collectively employed 670,439 sworn officers and 285,883 civilians, a rate of 3.4 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.

---

These stats in this press release do not provide breakdowns by race, but Black crime/capita is generally up to 8x White crime (based on other data). Maybe it's time for people to start looking at these stats and asking why Blacks (and Hispanics) are so inclined to commit crimes disproportionate to their numbers in our society?


5 people like this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 19, 2015 at 10:10 pm

Chris Zaharias is a registered user.

As another posted on Stanford Daily:

"Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy"

-Matin Luther King, May 1968


11 people like this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Then they go about their privileged lives as Stanford students, having few worries that an arrest record will hamper their bright, shining futures.


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2015 at 12:19 am

Keep-The-Roads-And-Bridges-Open said:
>> "We proudly carry the Palestinian flag .. kind of suggests that in addition to hi-jacking the San Mateo Bridge, MLK's day was also stolen.

This thing where the Palestinian cause, a society of utter and complete lack of democracy and liberal values somehow is the new in thing for students to protest is totally bizarre and goes to show how much weight we should NOT give to people who are so easily manipulated to do negative things that they do not understand.

The idea of associating all the things in one bundle is a way of brainwashing people to think that Palestinian rights are somehow aligned with democracy or Liberal society ... HA, anything but. Yes, concern and respect for, but this idea of shoving the Palestinian cause into every aspect of anything political suppsedly on the side of human rights is a mockery of every real human-rights struggle and the struggle of blacks.

The Palestinians are not the 99%!


3 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2015 at 7:12 am

Should certain protests -- those that specifically break a law or laws or conflict with existing regulations -- disclose in writing the names of all protesters? Why is disclosure mandated in some many areas but here, in law-breaking or regulation-breaking protest, there's absolute anonymity? Could Stanford students lead the way and reveal the names of all San Mateo Bridge protesters?


11 people like this
Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 20, 2015 at 7:32 am

Many of the above comments are a near perfect example of why the Students felt a need to disrupt. Instead of discussing the vicious racism they drew attention to and that warps our society in nearly every way, most of you chose to shoot the messengers. This denial and refusal to even discuss racism inevitably perpetuates it. And then to divert into commenting about the mideast issue is near insulting.

You think drivers temporary delay was intolerable. Well how about racism being literally intolerable? Why don't you speak to that? Tell us why you think that is intolerable, and please be specific not general. What aspect of it bothers you? Affects you?

Thank you to the person who posted the Daily article above, and to Stanford students in forcing us to pay attention, even for a few minutes, to racism.


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2015 at 7:59 am

I will be more specific.

I expect the delays to drivers caused them all problems. They may have missed an important meeting, a plane, a child's music performance or basketball game, a doctor may have been late to start a shift making a tired doctor stay late, a parent may have been late picking a child up from daycare and if they are more than an hour late that child can be put in police care as an abandoned child. These things are what happens when selfish people put themselves and their cause first.

Let me tell you that there have been so many protests in the past couple of months and not one has made me think any differently.

These protests that disrupt traffic affect people, real people, of all ethnicities, of all political persuasions, of all economic backgrounds, residents, visitors, criminals, etc. etc. etc.

I spent some time yesterday speaking to a young black service worker. He was respectful in his work to me, his customer. He was diligent in what he did. He smiled and we chatted for a couple of minutes extra about a non-relevant to the work topic. What he did as part of his job spoke volumes to me, much louder than anyone protesting about how black lives matter.

I remember that MLK said that he had a dream that his children would be valued by their character rather than the color of their skin. The young black man yesterday had wonderful character and happens to have been black. The protestors on the bridge had no character and I have no idea about the color of their skin because it doesn't matter. Their actions spoke louder than the color of their skin and I don't like their character as a result.

I tend to think that was what MLK was talking about.


4 people like this
Posted by Keep protesting
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

>>I expect the delays to drivers caused them all problems. They may have missed an important meeting, a plane, a child's music performance or basketball game, a doctor may have been late to start a shift making a tired doctor stay late, a parent may have been late picking a child up from daycare and if they are more than an hour late that child can be put in police care as an abandoned child.>>

>>These things are what happens when selfish people put themselves and their cause first. >>

So MLK and the thousands who protested with him were also selfish?

The chances are good that the black man you met with good character will still be judged by the color of his skin and not the content of his character the next time he is stopped and racially profiled by police or eyed by merchants while shopping in a store. Next time why don't you ask a black man of good character about his experiences with that? Or about the still-unequal education he might have received that keeps him in that service job?


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2015 at 9:06 am

Let me get this straight.

You expect me to judge that young man of excellent character I met yesterday by the color of his skin and to ask him some questions that were none of my business.

I have no idea about how well educated he was. He may have been a Stanford student with a part time job. He may have been a Paly student taking a couple of AP classes. I don't know and it wasn't my business to find out. I judged him by his character because that is what he showed. Anything else is not my business. I would not ask any service worker of any skin color personal questions that are not my business.

And as far as I remember hearing, MLK marched without closing bridges or highways and didn't vandalize businesses along the way. I don't remember hearing him disrupt people's lives by his actions. I have no reason to call any of his actions selfish.


10 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2015 at 9:06 am

This method of "protesting" seems cool to them, but is actually a stupid way to attempt to make (one/several) points. I see zero connection to MLK, rather a bunch of entitled brats from Stanford. Rallying in front of city hall, the state capitol, on a street corner would all be better methods, instead of attempting to be "cool" but turning out to be immature.


3 people like this
Posted by george
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 20, 2015 at 9:40 am

I strongley support the student's right to protest. They understand that without past students and community members protesting, Stanford, CalStates, the UC's and for that matter most of higher education would not be open to women and people of color. Let's find a way to make progress and support each other. Can we support a policy where all police shootings of unarmed citizens are investigated by the State AG office? Can we find funding for police vest cameras to protect the rights of the police and our fellow citizens? We can do better than taking each other down.


10 people like this
Posted by Stanford alum
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:59 am

Stanford students are free to protest but not to disrupt my freedom. As a donor to Stanford, I will be asking John Hennessey to expel students who take part in illegal protests.


10 people like this
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:38 am

They should all pay a huge fine. If they don't pay it, commuters who can prove they were stuck (by GPS etc) should try suing the university. These people don't get it that they cause potential harm to others by blocking bridges. People who are caretakers, people with sick children, people who can lose their jobs, people with once in a lifetime events. Blocking the bridges and freeways is immature, selfish and as bad as the acts they are protesting. These privileged children may be smart, but they apparently haven't grown up enough to know that there are better ways to get a point across.


2 people like this
Posted by Old Grump
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Please, no mandatory minimum sentence for anything, ever!
And no new laws. The current ones are just fine for dealing with this situation.

What these kids need is some education in communication skills. This bridge blockage was a bone headed stunt which actually diverted attention away from their message and needlessly antagonized many many people. The problems they were protesting are serious and real and demand more respect. They should be studying Martin Luther King rather than emulating Chris Christie's erstwhile henchmen.


3 people like this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:01 pm

No justice no peace. Can we make it any simpler? The voting rights act is being dismantled, "The Supremes" seem to be now salivating to dismantle the equal housing protection as well. The police gun down black males with seeming impunity. And you complain about a traffic delay! You are the true spoiled brats and a good spanking is in order as you're not children.


2 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm

I have gone to their protests where they state they are oppressed, not free and someone told them they should not go to school. Of course everyone should be treated equally - so it is their right to be perpetual victims and blame their situation on anyone but themselves. Their victim mentality is a real turn off to others of us who have been mistreated by the system but decided not to stay victims.


3 people like this
Posted by CivilDisobedience
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:41 pm

To Asok Asus and Stanford alum (and other similar)
Are you really serious in what punishments you want inflicted on these people?
I do not condone their activities, but your 'wants' are vindictive and over the top.


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Should there be a difference between protesting and an act of crime or terror ???


I believe this is the distinction here, and these "students" are like children demanding negative attention.

- Protesting does not need to be disruptive.

- Cutting off a bridge like this can be an act of terror and it is dangerous and destroys some freedom and value, i.e. time is money, transportation is freedom.

- This is not civil disobedience, that is when an authority tries to stop you from doing something that is legal and protected and you disobey that authority and ask for redress.


I have to wonder given the many "dirty tricks" that groups engage in these days if this was not planned by an infiltrator or about the identity and backing of this whole group? These loaded situations are often staged by something completely behind that scenes and misunderstood for the effect in the media.

We need more transparency here in these cases into who this is and what these groups are about, and who planned and sold this under what pretenses?


5 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

The protest was not in the spirit of MLK, but of George Wallace's "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" (Web Link): They choose to trample on the rights of others to promote themselves. The people delayed on the bridge were not the audience for the protest, but simply pawns to ensure media coverage.

A basic principle of disruptive protest is to target what you are protesting. For example: Are people being denied the right to register to vote? Then disrupt the registration process for everyone, which often meant demonstrations blocking access to the courthouse that housed the registration process.

Instead, what we see in this and related protests in the Bay Area is an elitist approach where the "protesters" see themselves as a vanguard forcing the rest of us to accepted their politics. On the elitism, notice the comments by "E Noun A Mus" which displays arrogant self-righteousness by rationalizing the trampling on the rights of a large number of others for little more than someone wanting a few seconds on the 11 o'clock TV news. This "elite" is poorly educated -- the lessons of history are that unfocused disruption and hooliganism are usually counter-productive, as several of the previous commenters have pointed out.

However, there is more than a bit of irony here: When it is the commercial sphere, disruptive behavior, trampling on the rights of others, hooliganism, ... are lionized and promoted as the path to riches. "Needs adult supervision" is a label that can be applied to many local high-tech companies (it is one of my favorite ice-breaker phrases when meeting people from local companies).


3 people like this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Ellie - get off of your high horse. I'm a progressive who spends countless hours dealing with racial and economic inequality, and I think that what these protestors did was stupid, dangerous and useless.


5 people like this
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Resident summed it up beautifully.

The students' message would have been conveyed far much effectively with a peaceful, non-obstructive protest.


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:46 pm

>The students' message would have been conveyed far much effectively with a peaceful, non-obstructive protest.

I doubt it. Disruption is what gets the attention...and the reaction. As a (now embarrassed) ex semi-radical back in the day, I can assure everyone that broken windows and disrupted traffic is an effective tactic. Terrorism, of various stripes is usually effective...get used to it. For me, that is not the pertinent question.

I want to know what the protestors are 'terrorizing' about. Class warfare and racial identity politics are not worthy causes, IMO, because they are based on false premises.


3 people like this
Posted by Woops!
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Uh, Chris Z? Martin Luther King was assassinated in April of 1968. I don't think he said much after that.


1 person likes this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 20, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Craig Laughton
> "Terrorism...is usually effective"

I disagree. Terrorism is effective only under certain very limited circumstances -- provoking the authorities into irrational and counterproductive responses that recruit more to the terrorist cause. The US response to 9/11 is an example of a major power being defeated by a handful of terrorists (measures: self-inflicted damage to the US economy and military capability and the dramatic increase in al-Queda, affiliates,...) This despite the US knowing the philosophy/strategy of terrorism.

Terrorism has routinely been ineffective. Witness the Marxist-Leninist terrorist of western Europe post WW2 (Red Brigades, Baader-Meinhof,...), of Japan, and the US. And multiple groups of terrorists seeking Puerto Rican independence have failed.

Terrorism has often been counter-productive: The rise of fascist and other reactionary regimes, through coups and even elections, has often been a byproduct of widespread public reaction to terrorism and other disruption.

Interestingly, a large part of the Civil Rights effort of which MLK was a major leader involved bringing the terrorism practiced by racists into full public view. One of the seminal events was "Bloody Sunday" (17 March 1965) during the unsuccessful march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama to protest the murder of a black Civil Rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson by the police (Web Link). On Bloody Sunday, the police used a bridge as the chokepoint to attack the marchers. The public revulsion at this event played a huge role in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

So there is large irony that, this close to the 50-year anniversary, a group of grandstanders under the banner "Reclaim MLK" would cast themselves with those racist police and block a bridge.


5 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm

KTVU Channel 2 News at 5PM carried a news story about the protest, featuring the San Mateo County DA mildly saying a tiny fine is all to be expected although a vehicle carrying the protesters onto the bridge was impounded. [Portion removed.] Technically, they could get up to 6 months in jail, but the person interviewed smiled and said that's unlikely (an old hippie in the day, perchance?)
I would arrest and place a conviction on the record of those seated on the bridge obstructing the traffic. [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm

Doug,

One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. The American revolution was fought by terrorist Minutemen and other rebels. I don't bother arguing the rightness or wrongness of the tactic/strategy...it is like arguing bombs vs. snipers vs. appeasement. I prefer to argue the underlying issues.

The current issue is about racial identity and class warfare. I don't buy either argument.


4 people like this
Posted by PAmoderate
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:06 pm

PAmoderate is a registered user.

These are a bunch of fake protesters.. Real protesters expect to face real consequences, and these Stanford students just to get off with a small fine, if at all?

There was a real consequence to what MLK, Rosa Parks, et al. had to face and were brave enough to face them. These are just a bunch of kids having a tantrum and not facing any real consequence to their actions.

Just like those idiots blocking BART in the East Bay, whining about fines and arrests. Sorry - your pansy actions don't live up to the past.

Lame.


2 people like this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Oh geez do you think that blocking the San Mateo bridge for a limited time was "terrorism"? Are you serious? This is civil disobedience. If Martin Luther King (or Jesus for that matter) were to be alive today you'd all decry him as just another troublemaker. Do you really want the protestors to face more draconian measures? Really don't you know how opposition gets slow BBQ'd to a fine finish? All the indignant ones here don't really give a flake about Tamir Rice or Michael Brown or Oscar Grant or on and on and on getting murdered by the state's paid racist enforcers. FL police found using black mug shots as target practice and yet you clamor to support the police no matter what. But then you call a mild tax increase on the wealthiest people in this country--those destroying our democracy, those destroying our planet, those selling out this country in the most treasonous fashion imaginable---you call that "class warfare"! They should be glad it's only a tax increase they are potentially facing and not the guillotine!


Like this comment
Posted by Noel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

Kudos for Stanford students to speak out so emphatically against America's support for Apartheid Israel. It is appalling that 50 years after Martin Luther King and the centuries of struggle for equality in America that our government is funding and propping up a foreign country recently built on land stolen from its indigenous people and that those people are being brutalized and having more land stolen on a daily basis by Israelis using American weapons paid for by American taxpayers and with the adamant support of American politicians. ALL people are created equal. That is the message of MLK.


4 people like this
Posted by Keep-The-Roads-And-Bridges-Open
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Web Link
“One officer reported handling at least four collisions that resulted in minor injuries or property damages,” said Officer Daniel Hill of the California Highway Patrol.
---

So—who pays for the crashes that were caused by these hooligans? Presumably some of the people involved in the crashes will have been cited for rear-ending the car in front of them. These people will have to go to court, and will loose money and time dealing with car repair and insurance people.

So—what gives Stanford students the right to tie up traffic, cause injury to people they don’t know—and the expect to walk away with no consequences to themselves?

Every one of those arrested should be expect to contribute to a restitution fund and do some jail time too.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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