A 22-year-old Stanford man received the harshest sentence yet for blocking traffic on a bridge during a protest in January, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's office.
A San Mateo County jury found Clayton William Evans guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in the Jan. 19, Martin Luther King Jr. Day protest that shut down traffic on the San Mateo Bridge. Evans is among 66 Stanford students who were arrested for blocking bridge lanes for two hours during rush hour. The shut down caused a 10-mile backup to the toll plaza on the east span of the bridge.
The students were protesting a variety of issues, including the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri shooting as well as Israeli presence in Palestine. The protestors were nonviolent, according to the DA.
Evans was the only defense witness in his case, and he testified that he did not intend to annoy or harm anyone by blocking the bridge. On cross-examination he admitted being quoted in the Stanford Daily as saying the group's plan for an earlier October protest was "to dramatically decrease the flow of traffic," the DA's office said.
He also admitted being quoted in a CBS article as saying, "The biggest thing we're trying to do right now is to let people know that we will be seen, and we will be heard, and we will continue to disrupt their everyday life until they recognize that."
The jury deliberated for 22 minutes and returned a guilty verdict of disorderly conduct. Evans received a sentence of two years probation in exchange for doing 100 hours of community service and paying $689 in fines.
Evans received a harsher sentence than other protestors based on his attitude during his testimony, Judge Jonathan Karesh told his defense attorney, Esther Aguayo. Other convicted protestors have been ordered to perform 45 hours of community service, and those who pleaded no contest received 30 hours, the DA's office noted.