Dangerously trapped motorists and caused accidents, yet claim their rights were violated when police arrested them.
We previously reported how anti-Israel activists hijacked a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day #BlackLivesMatter protest and turned it into an anti-Israel event.
They trapped hundreds, if not thousands, of motorists by setting up a protest line at the highest point of the bridge span, and also abandoning their own cars on the bridge to block traffic.
This was an extremely dangerous maneuver.
Unlike the blockade of Route 93 in Boston, for example, there was no possibility of motorists exiting. If an ambulance or someone in need of medical care had been trapped, there would have been no way out and no way to redirect ambulances or other emergency vehicles that needed to cross the bay.
This maneuver created havoc on the bridge, with motorists driving the wrong way near the toll area in a desperate attempt to escape.
For extensive video and photographic coverage, see our prior posts:
- Anti-Israel activists block San Mateo Bridge
- Anti-Israel activists caused car crashes on San Mateo Bridge
Here’s a video we have not previously posted:
Initial reports indicated that because of the seriousness of the blockade, more serious charges could be brought, perhaps even felonies:
At one point, protesters had blocked both sides of Highwy 92. The sudden blockade caused accidents and injuries. This was the first time protesters shut down the San Mateo Bridge, the longest bridge in the state. The district attorney says demonstrating on the nine-mile bridge is dangerous because there are no exits or turn around lanes.
“This particular protest caused several collisions involving property damage and minor injuries, as well as some hit-and-run crashes,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Daniel Hill said.
Sixty-eight protesters were arrested and charged with creating a public nuisance and obstructing people’s right to travel. The accidents and injuries could now mean harsher penalties than just misdemeanors.
“That makes it more serious that there’s been harm,” San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. “Restitution ought to be paid and so you look to see what the harm is as with any action.”
But it appears there may not happen.
The Stanford University student newspaper reports that the protesters may not even be charged, and are claiming their rights were violated, San Mateo bridge protest led to traffic accidents, according to Highway Patrol:
According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), there were several traffic accidents related to the demonstration, some of which involved property damage and minor injuries.
San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said that his office had not yet decided whether to file charges in the case, but that if charges were filed they would be infractions or misdemeanors rather than felonies….
Wagstaffe said that the harm the demonstrators caused could be taken into account when his office decided whether or not to file charges….
One participant in the bridge protest, Kristian Davis Bailey ’14, accused the CHP of violating protocols.
“[W]e weren’t given a clear option to disperse,” Bailey said. He added that demonstrators tried to leave the demonstration but were not able to do so.
Bailey also expressed concern about what he said were incidents where female demonstrators were patted down by male officers contrary to the wishes of the demonstrators….
Bailey said that no new charges had been communicated to the protesters related to the reported traffic accidents. According to him, all of the demonstrators arrested were being represented by a team of four lawyers who specialize in cases of mass civil disobedience.
The demonstrators had received considerable support from the Stanford community and that Stanford affiliates had sent more than 75 emails to the protesters offering support of various kinds, according to Bailey.
“It’s been really amazing to see the outpouring of support from the Stanford community over the past few days,” Bailey said.
Bailey was more than a participant; he is one of the national leaders of the movement to turn #BlackLivesMatters protests into anti-Israel protests, as we documented in our prior posts.
This was more than a protest. It was a public endangerment.
I have a call in to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office to find out about the status of the investigation and possible charges.
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