On Friday, June 22nd, the Alameda District Attorney dropped the remaining obstructing arrest charge against Robert Ovetz, Ph.D., a community college professor arrested observing the January 28th Occupy Oakland march. Oakland Police were videotaped beating Ovetz after arresting him. Ovetz was appearing for a trial readiness conference in Superior Court when prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss the case. He was among nearly 400 marchers corralled and arrested without being ordered to disperse in front of the YMCA. After being punched in the face by police and having his glasses broken Ovetz was violently thrown to the ground, and struck with a baton on the ground. Ovetz’s attorney Matthew Siroka is now preparing a federal lawsuit for the violation of his civil rights and the use of excessive force by OPD officer Martin.
The remaining charge dropped by the DA was “obstructing delaying or resisting an officer in the course of his duties,” a misdemeanor under California Penal Code section 148. Ovetz was initially charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor and jailed for 3 days.
Ovetz repeatedly informed the officers that he was not resisting arrest and did everything they instructed him to do, but was nonetheless beaten violently. Officers threw him to the ground and OPD officer Martin hit him with a baton twice. Ovetz suffered severe bruising on his body as well as injuries to his face, jaw and two teeth. Ovetz was taken to the emergency room for his injuries. The above video shows Ovetz being beaten while being thrown down and lying on the ground. His bike was also thrown to the ground and damaged and his glasses were broken.
Ovetz was observing the Occupy Oakland effort to turn an empty building into a community center. He is writing a book into why protest movements turn violent.
OPD gave the media Ovetz’ mug shot and charged him with felony assault on a police officer to cover their own violent crimes as part of an effort to discredit the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ovetz intends to file suit in order to clear his name and hold OPD accountable.
Ovetz is also demanding that all media outlets that used his mug shot and printed inaccurate information regarding his arrest remove his photograph, and/or correct their reports.