SAN FRANCISCO – Attorneys representing some of the protesters who blocked the Bay Bridge to call for an end to the Israel – Hamas war are urging San Francisco’s district attorney to drop all charges, saying the district attorney’s office is biased.
The attorneys for the so-called Bay Bridge 78 say District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ office has a pattern of anti-Palestinian bias, and they’re calling on her to drop the cases.
Police arrested dozens of protesters in mid-November following a protest against the Israel-Hamas war that brought traffic to a standstill on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Now, dozens of those protesters are facing misdemeanor charges of unlawful public assembly, false imprisonment, refusing to comply with a peace officer, failure to disperse and obstruction of a roadway.
The protesters’ attorneys letter to the DA says there is a, “pattern of anti-Palestinian racism in your office.”
“We’re worried that it permeates the office, this bias. The manner in which these cases were charged shows they were overcharged and there really is no reason to pursue this prosecution,” said Bobbie Stein.
The attorneys point to comments made by a prosecutor who reportedly sent emails with anti-Palestinian language and the attorneys say the district attorney herself mischaracterized another protest as being “pro-Hamas.”
“It speaks to a pattern of anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic bias in Brooke Jenkins’ office,” said Rachel Lederman. “So, what we’re asking is simply for her to dismiss the charges against the Bay Bridge 78.”
The district attorney’s office has responded, saying the prosecutor who made the comments does not reflect the views of the district attorney’s office and that “there is zero tolerance for bias, of any sort, in our charging decisions or how we handle cases. “
The accused are due back in court in mid-March where attorneys will attempt to have the case thrown out, saying the prosecution hasn’t laid out exactly who were the victims of the November protest. Their attorneys say they could raise the issue of bias in the DA’s office in court somewhere down the road.