Needless Victims
Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez on the ground

“My children are going to grow up without a father! Over what?!” shouted Sarah Schrader, longtime girlfriend of Jose Gutierrez and the mother of his two young children. She collapsed into her hands crying as friends rubbed her back, Oaksterdam University founder and Proposition 19 frontman Richard Lee at her side and jurors quietly streaming out of the courtroom.

On October 4, Jose Gutierrez was found guilty of assault on a federal officer, charges that carry up to eight years in prison. Gutierrez has until October 18 to appeal the verdict, if no appeal is filed he will be sentenced on January 10, 2014.

“They filed this charge [against Gutierrez] to protect themselves against a lawsuit for beating up Jose,” said J. Tony Serra, the lead attorney in Gutierrez’s defense. Edie Lerman, as well as Omar Figueroa and J. Tony Serra, both of San Francisco’s historic Pier 5 Law Offices represented Gutierrez pro bono.

Two days earlier, as Serra delivered closing arguments in the jury trial, the courtroom, mostly empty throughout the week-long trial, quietly filled up with United States Marshals. The marshals, deemed “essential” workers, working through the government shutdown and remaining on the federal payroll, sat on the jury’s side of the courtroom. The marshals rarely glanced toward the defense, but rather fixated on the jurors, who snuck glances their way. “They [the marshals] are here to psychologically persuade you,” Serra said.

A year and a half earlier, the IRS, DEA and US Marshals enacted a raid on Oaksterdam University, as well as other Oaksterdam district targets. Jose Gutierrez, a longtime activist and radio journalist with Berkeley Pacifica Radio affiliate KPFA was targeted and beaten by federal officers before being arrested.

Internal police documents show that officers had been following and targeting Gutierrez since he arrived at 8:00am on April 2, 2012 to the initial protest in front of the main Oaksterdam University building at 1600 Broadway. Gutierrez associated with a friend and fellow activist, already protesting on the scene who was identified immediately by federal officers. The other activist had brought a bull horn to lead protests until he was told he would need a permit to continue. He slipped away to Oakland City Hall and returned 15 minutes later with the permit. Documents show the officers began tracking and following Gutierrez in earnest at that point on.

Gutierrez was carrying a sign that read “Department of Injustice: BULLIES” and also wearing a bull mask across his nose. Police documents also show this was interpreted as a pig mask, he was thereafter referred to in these documents as “pig mask” or “pig man”, an interpretation thought to be a dig at police.

As the protests heated up, protestors surrounded the Coffee Shop Blue Sky, about a block from the main building at 1600 Broadway. Officers, who had not set a perimeter or exercised proper crowd control tactics, contacted US Marshals claiming they felt “trapped” inside. The crowd surged closer together. An aerial video taken from across the street shows officers using what is referred to as a “snatch squad”. Officers make a V towards Gutierrez and begin beating him. The crowd moves away from the door towards the action, within seconds the evidence is removed from Coffee Shop Blue Sky and the storefront is closed:

Donate now to Jose Gutierrez’s Legal Defense fund to support the appeal, and share the story with your friends: http://green-aid.com/cases/jose-gutierrez/

14 comments
James A. Webb
James A. Webb

It's time we start a militia to protect us from the one's that are supposed to be protecting us ! Do we have any volunteers ?

happyoke
happyoke

Yeah, it's not a good idea to push an officer and expect him to smile and walk away. I don't think he deserves eight years in prison but maybe a night in jail.

Janet
Janet

Jose was the aggressor. He got what he deserved.

THai
THai

I've been caught in a situation where someone is pushing their way through a crowd and pushing me backwards towards people who are facing forward and it feels like a very aggressive mood. the person who is going against the crowd will treat the individuals in the crowd as if they can dominate the crowd by pushing the people in front but it doesn't work like that. It only makes the crowd more aggressive and push back. I think the Marshalls should have attempted to use the back door or make and announcement that everyone needed to keep a clear path if they didn't want a fight. The Marshalls that tried were able to walk through the crowd without a problem. But one or two of them in particular seemed to provoke the crowd. I have a hard time feeling that an individual, someone who was not there as a public servant, should be singled out for a situation that was inherently flawed.

Janet
Janet

I think Oakland and the Bay Area is tired of these rowdy and violent crowds smashing businesses and attacking innocent people. This was bad timing for Jose to go on trial...

peter saling
peter saling

Now is the time for NORML To do they're work.....

vic
vic

even if he shoved a marshall first, he took a beating for it. is that worth a potential 8 year stint in prison? not in my book. the US needs to have a rethink of it's draconian laws and unfair, biased justice system in my opinion. actually i think that's most of the world's opinion!

Janet
Janet

Jose Gutierrez was convicted by a jury of his peers. I am an marijuana advocate who was there at the Blue Sky Cafe on April 2, 2012. I was close enough to see Jose shove the Marshal. Jose crossed the line... You can't be a reporter and also a violent protester. It was a mob sense at the Blue Sky on April 2nd. The things I heard both male and female protesters saying to the Marshals was terrible, no class, etc. the agitators in the crowd wanted a fight with the cops. I won't join this group again. I was more afraid of the crowd than the e Marshals. Let's face it, Everyone is getting tired of these so called "1st amendment" rioters. In addition, Serra's team was terrible! Jose should think twice about using them for his appeal.

Aundre
Aundre

After the trial I approached a juror to ask for their contact info. He kept his head down and did not make eye contact. He gave us his card and said 'we followed the law but justice was not served' we clearly need more fija education.

Jaci
Jaci

Were U there Janet. That's like saying well Jodi Arias was a socio-path and Travis Alexander should of known that, so he got what he deserved. Quit judging people. I guess U have never sinned?

Jaci
Jaci

That's it. We, the people, HAVE 2 CHANGE THE LAWS. But where 2 start? They're so old and outdated. Where 2 begin? 1st should be #1 NO hitting. I think we learned that in kindergarten, or the BIBLE. #2 Do unto others as u would have others do unto u. Oh wait. That's the golden rule. We need more people 2 have more knowledge on these little things even b4 we can tackle the BIG LAWS. It seems like such a big task 2 tackle. We're all going 2 have 2 raise our children 2 be more peaceful and loving for starters. Then, let the fathers of these babies stay at the home. No going out "playing" w/ the guys. A strong family helps more than anyone knows.

Terry
Terry

this is our future with police as long as the pot laws change & they agree with the changed laws .

Everybodhi
Everybodhi

What do you think that photo proves? I only see a pair of hands holding something behind an officer. I cannot see if anyone is hit and I can in no way identify whose hands they are. For all I can see in your photo, those hands could be your own.