Occupy Cal Sues UC Berkeley, Law Enforcement

24 people accuse police of using excessive force.

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    BERKELEY - NOVEMBER 15: University of California, Berkeley student Colleen Young sits in her tent after a general assembly voted to again occupy campus as part of an "open university" strike in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement on November 15, 2011 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

    Students and community members filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday alleging police used excessive force against them during an "Occupy Cal" protest at the University of California at Berkeley on Nov. 9.

    Attorney Ronald Cruz of the group By Any Means Necessary said 24 plaintiffs are named in the suit but he expects that number to increase because he believes many people suffered at the hands of police during the protest, which involved hundreds of people.

    Cruz said the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seeks unspecified general and punitive damages for the physical and emotional injuries the protesters suffered.

    Named as defendants are UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau, other senior university administrators, UC Berkeley Police Chief Mitchell Celaya, Alameda County Sheriff Chief Gregory Ahern, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan and several police officers.

    Cruz said the 41-page complaint includes detailed accounts of peaceful protesters being clubbed in the face, yanked by their hair, forcefully jabbed in their chests, stomachs, and groins, and beaten while lying on the ground.

    Cruz said police continued to beat protesters even after they destroyed the protesters' tents.

    UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said university officials can't comment on the lawsuit's allegations because they haven't yet seen the suit.

    Gilmore said there are several investigations into police officers' actions during the protest and university officials "are looking forward to the outcome" of those probes.