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Three Occupy Oakland protesters have been charged with robbery and hate crimes for an incident at a bank action on Feb. 22, police said. In a written statement released Friday, police said that one had been arrested that day and two others were arrested at an Occupy Oakland protest on Wednesday. The three protesters allegedly encountered a woman walking in the
4000 block of Piedmont Avenue while protesting at the Wells Fargo bank at 151 40th St.
The woman told police that the protesters were calling for a riot and she told the protesters not to riot in her neighborhood. The three protesters then allegedly surrounded her yelling and battering her and calling her slurs based on their perception of her sexual orientation, police said. Her wallet was taken during the incident, police said, before she broke away from the group and called police. Police responded and spoke to the woman at around 6 p.m. One suspect was arrested near the scene that day, and after an investigation two others were arrested at a protest on Wednesday.
The three suspects charged are Michael Davis, 32, Nneka Crawford, 23, and Randolph Wilkins, 24, police said. Leah, an Occupy Oakland protester who said she help organize the Feb. 22 protest, said in a videotaped statement that the allegations against the three protesters are false. She said that she witnessed the incident, but under advice from the National Lawyers Guild she could not give a detailed account of what she saw that day.
She did say, however, that the protesters had not attempted to incite a riot and that she did not think that anyone involved in Occupy Oakland would discriminate against anyone’s sexuality. Video footage of the protest posted to the Internet that may have captured the incident had been removed from the Internet also under the advice of the National Lawyers Guild, Leah said. Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the major crimes division at (510) 238-3326.
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