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Prosecutors still reviewing cases, weighing possible charges for UC San Diego protesters

Caleb Lunetta and Teri Figueroa, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Court hearings for dozens of UC San Diego students arrested during a pro-Palestinian protest last month did not move forward as scheduled Monday, as prosecutors continue reviewing the cases and weighing whether to file charges.

The City Attorney’s Office has not made any decisions regarding whether to bring criminal cases arising from the arrests.

Most of the students were part of an encampment set up in front of Geisel Library on UC San Diego’s campus to protest Israel’s war in Gaza and demand the school divest investments tied to Israel. Police dismantled the camp early May 6 and arrested 66 people, many of whom were students at the La Jolla university.

Everyone who was arrested was taken to jail, booked and immediately released. All were given a procedural date of June 17 to show up in San Diego Superior Court. The date is a placeholder while prosecutors review whether to file charges.

Those hearings did not move forward Monday because prosecutors are still sifting through files and reviewing evidence.

“Prosecutors will make any decisions on filing charges after they have completed their review of the facts,” said Andrew Sharp, spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office.

City prosecutors have a year to file charges in most misdemeanor cases. If they decide a case is a potential felony, they can refer that case to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration for prosecution.


Those arrested last month include 60 students, two faculty members and four people unaffiliated with the university, a campus spokesperson said. Police said the protesters inside the tent city had ignored multiple orders to disperse and had skirmishes with officers attempting to tear down the encampment.

Most of the protesters were arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly, although several were also taken into custody on suspicion of illegal camping or resisting arrest, jail logs indicate.

In anticipation of Monday’s court hearings, a group of community organizers planned a protest on the courthouse steps to demand the charges be dropped and the university end any disciplinary review. But with the hearing falling off the calendar, the protest was canceled.

Adu Vengal, a UC San Diego graduate student and one of the organizers for Monday’s canceled demonstration, said the arrestees had been peacefully protesting for a cause they believe in.

“The amount of discipline and retaliation that students at this campus and other campuses face for this is totally out of control,” Vengal said.

In addition to their legal troubles, the 60 students are now in the midst of an administrative review by the school to determine if any will face disciplinary action. They face a range of potential sanctions. They will also be able to appeal the outcome.

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