News

MLK day student-protesters appear in court

Stanford students arrested during shutdown of San Mateo-Hayward Bridge

The first group of Stanford University student-protesters arrested during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day action that shut down the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge appeared in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City this week on misdemeanor charges, according to prosecutors.

A total of 68 protestors, part of a Stanford group calling itself Silicon Shutdown and affiliated with the "Black Lives Matter" movement, were arrested after they failed to leave the bridge when ordered to do so, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The group, which said it was honoring King's legacy and marching in response to the controversial Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, in Ferguson, Missouri, called for an end to police brutality and the demilitarization of local law enforcement. The group carried a Palestinian flag "as a symbol of global struggles for justice," organizers said.

All 68 of those arrested have been charged with obstructing the roadway, a misdemeanor, and will be tried separately, in part because the county cannot accommodate all of them in one trial, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Tuesday.

Ten of those defendants, the first 10 to be arrested, appeared in court Monday and Tuesday, with others scheduled to appear on various dates in late March, Wagstaffe said.

All pleaded not guilty and most were assigned public defenders and ordered to return for trial dates in May and June, Wagstaffe said.

Two defendants appeared with private attorneys, and one, Elliot Williams, appeared with well-known Bay Area attorney John Burris, known for his work in police shooting and brutality cases.

Burris said he had been brought into the case on the request of the family, but because the charge filed is a misdemeanor, an associate in his office will probably handle the case.

CHP officials said after the arrests that there were four confirmed collisions involving property damage or minor injuries during the protest, which shut down all lanes on the bridge for at least 25 minutes.

Anecdotally, there were several other collisions handled by the parties involved with little or no CHP involvement, according to CHP spokesman Daniel Hill.

Manny Thompson, a Silicon Shutdown group member and organizer, said the group has made some efforts to help those arrested organize transportation to the court, learn their legal rights and talk to lawyers when appropriate.

Comments

14 people like this
Posted by Dilution
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 24, 2015 at 9:30 pm

I continue to amazed at the "piling on" behavior of University students everywhere. Are they protesting the injustices against black Americans? Are they protesting against unnecessary police brutality, are they honoring Martin Luther King and his powerful influence on our society? What is the point of distracting everyone from the core messages by bringing a Palestinian flag?


19 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 25, 2015 at 9:33 am

This behavior is counter productive and they are doing more harm than good for their cause.


15 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 10:38 am

I think it is very sad that the SU students did not put on a positive display to honor MLK. A positive display does not include blocking bridges - or BART - when people are trying to get to their destinations.

It is also sad that well intentioned young people can get led sideways by a few people that are there to create a "disruption". The younger generation thinks "disruption" in any form is cool. The SU students are there to learn how to function in society in a positive manner - hold them accountable if they act like a disrupter of other people's rights.

The people in their cars or any other form of transportation have rights and the students have intruded into other people's rights by blocking the roads, especially on a bridge where they have no way to divert themselves and get away.

Manny Thompson should be evaluated by SU if he is a student as to retaining his student status. If so out the door. If not a student then hold him accountable as a violator of human rights. [Portion removed.]

The way things are going these days if people see activity that is counter-productive then call the people on it before it happens and gets naïve people in trouble.


15 people like this
Posted by Ugh
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2015 at 10:54 am

I love that on top of enduring their shenanigans which created a dangerous situation and disrupted the lives of many people, we taxpayers are now paying for public defenders [portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2015 at 11:17 am

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 11:19 am

As a taxpayer, I'm happy to cover the costs of public defenders. My concern is that the protestors learn what is safe and constructive vs. dangerous and destructive.


10 people like this
Posted by SupportBlackLivesMatter
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 11:41 am

It was a peaceful protest with appropriate choice of location -- the bridge. Since when do we not support peaceful protests? Disruption is part of how they get our attention and get their message across. It's an important message. Black Lives Matter.


10 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm

"What is the point of distracting everyone from the core messages by bringing a Palestinian flag?"

Information available online shows Manny Thompson has been involved in Palestinian advocacy; I'm unable to find much, if anything, linking Mr. Thompson to the Black Lives Matter movement. For a sample of the former, see the recent Stanford Daily article here:
Web Link

"Manny Thompson should be evaluated by SU if he is a student as to retaining his student status."

Information available online shows Mr. Thompson is currently scheduled to graduate this June; see the Stanford Who site here:
Web Link


22 people like this
Posted by Common Sense Matters
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 1:02 pm

> It was a peaceful protest with appropriate choice of location -- the bridge

It was not an appropriate place to stage a protest. It is a real shame that those in court are not going to end up with jail time, but also have to pay all the costs of the collisions, the lost time of the public and the cost of law enforcement to remove their useless backsides from this important part of our transportation system.

The local media have yet to report on the citizenship of those involved. If any of these students are not US citizens, they should be reported to ICE. And Stanford needs to take some sort of disciplinary action towards them all. If any of these students are on scholarship, maybe Stanford could review the reasons for their awards, and reduce them considerably, since these students clearly are not understanding the role of higher education in a productive society.

There is no reason that these students could not have held their protest on the Stanford lands. Oh, right--they couldn't create as much chaos, could they?

Got to wonder how better MLK day would have been for these students if they had spent their time tutoring children in EPA with reading problems.

For most of us, common sense matters.



12 people like this
Posted by BlackTshirtsMatter
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 25, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Our best and brightest. Really?


16 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

It was a lousy place for a protest. The trendy excuse of disrupting people due to a protest is a bad one. It's unsafe and more than inconvenient. In some cases, it poses a downright danger. I've participated in, and even organized, plenty of protests in my day. NEVER have I advocated for something that interferes with people walking, driving, cycling and going about their daily lives.


10 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 2:26 pm

"The trendy excuse of disrupting people due to a protest is a bad one."

+1. There's ample past history to support such statement. In particular, disruptions of transportation may result in political change, but not to the advantage of those forestalling the use of such transit. It's not quite the same as blocking a bridge but a look at the recent BART strike may be instructive. For the first time in six (6) years, the East Bay elected a Republican, Catharine Baker, to the State Assembly. In an article yesterday at the East Bay Citizen, Steven Tavares wrote Ms. Baker 'used the series of transit strikes that roiled commuters and voters starting in 2013 to her advantage.' [source: Web Link ]

Perhaps Stanford's Mr. Thompson is too busy with Palestinian advocacy to read and understand the possible negative outcomes of transit-disrupting protests?


9 people like this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by scotty
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm

I'm against protesters, but I don't know how to show it.


13 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:02 pm

How about ALL LIVES MATTER, including those that were disrupted by a bunch of young people who were out to show everyone how relevant they were. In the process they showed us how inconsiderate they are.


7 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:06 pm

@Scotty....good one! Still laughing about your comment.


5 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:15 pm

@JA3+.... Why do you consider electing a Republican, Catherine Baker, to the State Assembly a negative outcome? My guess is that the BART strike, foisted on bay area commuters by liberal unions and their leaders got voters thinking that enough is enough. Thus, the liberal is out and the conservative is in. It's a trend these days.


5 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:56 pm

"If your activism makes your oppressor feel comfortable than maybe you should reevaluate your activism."

So sorry that these activists were a small inconvenience to you while protesting how people of color are gunned down in the streets by the police. :'(


2 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 5:23 pm

"Why do you consider electing a Republican, Catherine Baker, to the State Assembly a negative outcome?"

I don't (but, in hindsight, my post above was poorly written and certainly leads to such conclusion; apologies). My (intended) point: in a democracy with a free- or nearly free-flow of voluminous information, those who break the law need to be well aware of the political consequences. I'm making a presumption here: that most or nearly all college students, like Manny Thompson, one of the key bridge blockers, lack a detailed knowledge of past politics in democracies like the one here in the US.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 6:56 pm

I am sure the protesting students parent's are really proud of their prodigy. It seems to me that their protest is a bit misdirected. But what do I know as a product of the 60's here in Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by Julian
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Scotty, that is a classic!


5 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 25, 2015 at 8:07 pm

One thing I do know: Scotty is more intelligent than the spoiled Stanford student protesters.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

We have a situation in PA where students in high school are troubled and upset by how hard they work and do not get accepted by the very schools that we the taxpayers are supporting. We have some that commit suicide.

Then we have college people who have been accepted into these great schools and they get wrapped up in these protest situations that overcome their whole college experience. A lot of these people have been given funding to help them get through school.

It is sad that they don't see that they can work in a positive direction to attain the same goal.

People rode the freedom train for MLK and shared experiences and stories.
Others were stuck in foreign lands defending the USA.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2015 at 8:10 am

JA3 - Noting the reference to activity on Stanford Campus - There is funding being provided to support these groups. Where is the funding coming from? Possibly from the Desmond Tutu Foundation based in New York who is providing guidance and classes on the tactic of divestiture.

The tactic of divestiture was relative to Apartheid in South Africa. Note that was a British Commonwealth issue specific to the British Commonwealth and other European Countries colonizing African / Other areas to take their wealth (gold, diamonds, lumber, etc) to build their areas of control. The US Government was not involved in this action and it was occurring as other wars, (Boer War), WWI and WW2 was changing the face of the world, and the aftermath in the forming of new nations.

Downtown Abbey on PBS is now grappling with the upcoming war and the tensions of the characters within the British Government. They are now grappling with the breakdown of the Commonwealth as it reflects in their region.

The Desmond Tutu Foundation has taken on the role of providing guidance on newer conflicts. That is on their web-site. One of those conflicts is the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

This is a highly political activity - question on the table is why churches and universities are attempting to intervene in US Government actions regarding this matter. Yes - there are students on campuses who have been given a great gift of education to learn how positively take their individual skills forward - back to their countries to possibly work in their individual governments.

SU should focus on building leaders who can go back to their respective countries and work in the individual countries to resolve issues. We have a State Department whose job it is to work those issues within the US Government's best interests based on what information they have.

This whole issue is more complicated than involvement by churches and students. So who is paying Manny's tuition? Who is paying the tuition of the other students. And who is paying the local supporters of Manny's actions? Start following the money backward to the source.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2015 at 9:56 am

On the question of Republican and Democrat this is a Democrat voting state. And the US Government is controlled by the Democrats in the State Department. So the question on the table is if you are a Democrat and a "liberal progressive" then why don't you let the US Government do the job you voted them in to do?

Why is the church, universities, and who ever else trying to usurp the authority of the US Government in the area of foreign affairs? And this is a foreign affair.

No one voted the churches, SU, other Universities, or Foundations supporting foreign dignitaries that authority to create political issues that the US government is suppose to be in charge of. It is Political Mayhem.

So Gavin Newsome, Jerry Brown, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer et all - you minor people contemplating political runs for office please take charge of your state. You do not get to usurp authority from the State Department. You are making John Kerrey's job that more difficult.

2016 is coming up-this topic is on the table. Get it together.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 26, 2015 at 10:27 am

"Downtown Abbey on PBS is now grappling with the upcoming war and the tensions of the characters within the British Government. They are now grappling with the breakdown of the Commonwealth as it reflects in their region." So happy history and revolution intervened such that we don't have to suffer through a French version of Downton Abbey. Society is fracturing now and I guess we all will just decide which side we're on. No justice no peace. If it was your kids being gunned down and murdered by police officers then it's a small price to pay for some inconvenience. If I were stuck in that traffic I'd be ecstatic. (now watch all the gruesome scenarios to follow).


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2015 at 10:38 am

JA3+ - trying to compare student protestors on MLK Day with union workers striking and protesting is a lousy comparison. Do you not see that?


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2015 at 12:10 pm

We have a national holiday for MLK, we have streets named after him, we have statues. We just had an award winning movie called SELMA, we had an Oscar award for best music - SELMA - John Legend. Maybe you all should start listening to Oprah - she has a school in Africa and is supporting the arts and music. She is trying to educate people in an artful way. She has a magazine and puts on events to promote women. She has a TV network. She is a positive force. MLK is part of our American picture now.

Problem we have here is that the person who coordinated this event is really working a different issue - the Israeli-Palestine effort. And if you start reading the attachments above then you have an assortment of people from African countries with their own issues.

Are their countries successful as independent nations? Yes? No? If they are successful then they should be happy that they are functioning in a manner that is supporting all of its citizens.

If No - then the individual countries need to exert some control over their economies and government connections within the United Nations, et all. The SU students are here to get an education so they can go back and add something to their countries.

People being shot down - that seems to be a general problem. If you all read any newspapers then you know that a lot of people are being shot down - and beheaded. There is a lot of that going around right now. Children shoot other children - and young people bomb other people in marathons.

I think we just went through the Hollywood version of the French - Les Miserables. Every one gets their turn in the bucket. We also have the Alamo movies so you could cut this any way you want. Also the Holocaust, WW1 and WW2.

Read your newspapers -be aware of what is going on directly around you, in the US, and in other countries. Why students are trying to direct traffic for their respective countries through their student status makes no sense. Each country has assigned people in the Government who are tasked with that job. Students should be complaining to their respective government to control their events - not asking us (USA) to control their events through manipulation of business activities.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

This topic shouldn't be hijacked with off topic discussion of union trikes, Demos and Repubs, Downton Abbey, Desmond Tutu and the obfuscating "all lives matter." Aren't you all smarter than that?


Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 26, 2015 at 7:08 pm

[Post removed.]



3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2015 at 9:21 am

Hmmm - I do not follow the politics of East Palo Alto. You are in San Mateo County and the majority of your issues are addressed in the Almanac E-line system. You all have a different set of problems, funding issues, and approaches to city and state issues. Check out Redwood City on the CARGILL Development of the salt ponds. Big topic for San Mateo County and bay area.

I do follow the PACC Monday night meetings and all major newspapers relative to the bay area - SFC, SJM, and WSJ. I do follow the UC and Stanford positions on most major topics as the representatives of those institutions are the people that are developing our economic outlook today. Those positions directly effect the economy since political figures derive and provide guidance from those institutions.

The papers are at a national level and expand the data on any topic that provides background, relevance, and a more cohesive point of view on the topics being discussed in this forum. No issue is simple and unrelated to the general economy and political outlook of the area.

The MLK issue is indicative of a problem affecting our population. If it is labeled it as a local issue it is misleading the broader issue as it affects the governance of the university systems and the portrayal of individuals for which there is already much information. And if that issue is bound into the other debates the students are having relevant to the governance of city and university actions then so be it.

This issue got tied to other issues by virtue of the leader having a Palestinian flag. So the event drives the discussion - it has now been stepped up a notch. The next notch up is a big topic.

Downtown Abbey strikes again - note the amount of news data on Filoli - has similar patterns of drama. We could have a soap opera for our local castle - already did have one called Dynasty.


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Why do you presume to tell Hmmm which issues to follow? That's unacceptable. The bridge that was blocked is in Hmmm's county, if you want to be territorial about it. It's Hmmm's tax dollars at work, not yours. Didn't you read the article? The court is in Hmmm's county.

AND it's PA Online that follows East Palo Alto issues, not The Almanac. If I'm not mistaken, Hmmm has strong ties to Stanford and is also part of that community and was a long time resident of Palo Alto. I'm pretty sure I'm not confusing Hmmm with another commenter.


3 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Being able to protest and be heard, even to the point of impinging
in a CAREFUL, controlled or creative way on people, is acceptable
and even important to me in certain cases, King's marches being
the prime example.

I don't count this protest as being that.

I have three issues with this so-called "protest".

1) The guerrilla tactic of using Martin Luther King day to permit other
groups to co-opt or use Dr. King's cause in their wild interpretation.

2) The petty social terrorism of blocking a bridge or traffic artery and
causing unnecessary damage or risk.

3) Demonstrations that support extra-national groups , in this case
the Palestinian flag. Groups that are divisive to the MLK cause,
let them go block the bridge and take the heat for that.


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2015 at 1:28 pm

The bridge in question is the property of the State of California managed by CALtran. All taxpayers in California pay for the bridges, supported by the Fastrack and cash payment method. I have a Fastrack monitor and get billed for that. It is everyone's bridge.


1 person likes this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 27, 2015 at 2:20 pm

It's funny...now that Martin Luther King is a celebrated (and in many quarters despised) figure....his legacy is being re-invented to fit a comfortable image for some Country Club Republican sipping a martini and writing a check for some memorial event. Truth was King was very radical and embraced social disruption in pursuit of the goals. Likewise much opposition back then wasn't guised in outright racism but rather "he's just a troublemaker". If Martin Luther King were alive today I'm also sure he would be very concerned about the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli state and it's settler movement. So someone who was protesting waved a Palestinian flag. He wasn't chased away by the other protesters. It's not like he showed up waving an Israeli or Nazi flag!


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Resident1, your attempt to deflect from Hmmm's right to comment didn't work.


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm

>> If Martin Luther King were alive today I'm also sure he would be very
>> concerned about the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli
>> state and it's settler movement.

You should not get to decide that. It was terrorism that killed Dr. King,
and terrorism that the Palestinian governments stand for.

>> So someone who was protesting waved a Palestinian flag. He
>> wasn't chased away by the other protesters.

Exactly my point above, anyone can twist that claim and show up saying
anything, and other protestors afraid of being negative or non-inclusive
will not say anything. This is how such things happen, because very
few of there politically active people are really very knowledgeable about
things outside the specific issue they are protesting.

>> It's not like he showed up waving an Israeli or Nazi flag!

This is not an issue that I wanted to belabor, but your impressions of this are
actually in error. If you search on Google for "Palestinian Nazi salute" images
and you will get many hits with photographs which show this is exactly how
Hamas and Hezbollah express themselves - with terror.

Further, during WWII, the local Islamic religious leader in Jerusalem, Haj
Amin al-Husseini allied with and worked with the Third Reich in Berlin at
Hitler's expense. Documented on Wikipedia there are photographs of
him meeting with Hitler, here: Web Link

Little seems to have changed in branches of the Palestinian government
that have descended from the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood - to the detriment
of all sides. As I've said before, there is really nothing Liberal, Progressive
about the terrorist elements of the Palestinian government that seem to
have political control. One must certainly have sympathy for people caught
under such a system, but it seems to me the civilized thing to do is not to
support it or protest in favor of such a system, but to focus on those people.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 1, 2015 at 8:07 am

Possibly the title of this article (MLK) has led us astray. If you go to Google and look at the national articles on this topic (LA Times, etc.) it is referred to the "Silicon Shutdown 2015). Possible need to add 01/19/15.
There is much information about the 68 people who were involved, 4 auto accidents, 11 in jail. etc. Also attorney hired by family for student caught in action.

The articles describe this as a more comprehensive debate that is focused on more than one topic. The Ferguson activity seems to be a key here. Also lots of twitter comments on the Stanford Review articles which are following this situation and providing updates on the court appearances.

I think that it is worth peoples time to look at how this is being presented and followed by the press as opposed to us trying to interpret what the students were doing. Looks like the global press has more direct conversation with the activity.

And for all of you foreign students you have consulates here that are suppose to coordinate the activities for your country. Go find them and volunteer to help them. You can intern for them.


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

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