15 Protesters Face Charges

Charges have yet to be filed against 13 UCSD students and two janitors who were arrested Friday during a protest supporting the unionization of janitors on campus.

The 15 were taken into custody by San Diego police for unlawful assembly, failure to disperse after being ordered to do so, and impeding the flow of traffic.

All charges are misdemeanors.

“”It’s too soon,”” said Ann Marie Council from the San Diego City Attorney’s Office on Wednesday, referring to the process of filing charges. Charges could be filed in the near future.

The arrests occurred after members of Students for Economic Justice and Service Employees International Union Local 2028 marched off campus and blocked the intersection of La Jolla Village Drive and Villa La Jolla Drive.

“”It went fairly smooth,”” said San Diego Police Sergeant Art Bowen. “”They stayed in the intersection and legally, I had to tell them that they must leave the intersection. The first group left. The second group remained. They were the ones arrested.””

After the police ordered the intersection cleared and the 15 refused to leave, they were immediately taken into custody and transported to jail.

Men were taken to the county jail downtown and women were taken to Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility in Santee.

According to Bowen and Mike Wilzoch, deputy director of SEIU Local 2028, protesters were aware of the consequences of blocking the intersection.

Both cooperated in making sure the protests and arrests occurred peacefully.

“”They were very cooperative, they were very civil,”” Bowen said. “”We thanked them for that; they didn’t have to be.””

The arrested protesters were released early the next morning after posting bail of around $550 each. According to Wilzoch, bail was provided by the SEIU.

Wilzoch and one arrested student confirmed that, prior to the protest, a deal was worked out between SEIU lawyers and law enforcement on charges and the price of bail.

Once this figure was agreed on, SEIU and SEJ determined how many could be arrested and bailed out by the union without leaving anyone behind.

Civil disobedience tactics were used to draw attention to the janitors’ cause, said Eugene Mahmoud, an SEJ member who was one of the 15 arrested.

“”It was important because we were trying to have a voice on a situation of economic justice,”” Mahmoud said. “”A different voice was achieved by taking it off campus.””

Friday was the first time protesters were arrested in the string of protest activities by SEJ and SEIU.

The SEJ and SEIU are demanding a “”living wage”” of $11.24, health benefits, the opportunity to organize and the reinstatement of one fired janitor.

Wilzoch provided the Guardian with a list of the students and janitors arrested.

Efforts to confirm this with the city attorney’s office and sheriff’s department have been unsuccessful.

According to Wilzoch’s list, students Viviana Avita, Brian Babb, Joy de la Cruz, Rene Gube, Scott Jordan Kerns, Stephen Klass, Yesiga Lopez, Eleazar Loza, Eugene Mahmoud, Lucia Moriz, Melissa Schweisguth, Justin Searchy and Josh Wilson were arrested.

SEIU Local 2028 janitors Ignacio Quinones and Albino Goazzles were also arrested for their parts in what both the SEJ and SDPD are calling civil disobedience.

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