Occupy Oakland Protester Convicted on Felony Count of Deterring Officer

OAKLAND (Bay City News) The trial of an Occupy Oakland protester concluded today with a jury convicting him of a felony count of deterring an officer during the performance of his duties but deadlocking on another charge and finding him guilty of a misdemeanor on a third count.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted 47-year-old Cameron Rose for allegedly striking Oakland police Officer Patrick Gerrans with a folding chair at a protest at Frank Ogawa Plaza on Dec. 30 and for allegedly resisting arrest on Jan. 22 when authorities tried to arrest him on a warrant for the Dec. 30 incident.

The most serious charge against Rose, who’s been in jail in lieu of $130,000 bail since he was arrested on Jan. 22, was a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer with force likely to produce great bodily injury.

But jurors today only convicted him of the lesser included offense of simple misdemeanor assault. Jurors also deadlocked on the misdemeanor resisting arrest charge for the Jan. 22 incident.

Jurors announced their guilty verdict on the deterring an officer felony count on Tuesday. They deliberated for a total of four days.

In his closing argument in Rose’s trial last week, prosecutor Tim Wagstaffe said Rose struck Oakland police Officer Patrick Gerrans with a metal chair on Dec. 30 while Gerrans was “defenseless” because his head was turned in the opposite direction as he was helping other officers detain another protester, Carly Bate, who had refused an order to remove her property from the plaza.

Wagstaffe said Gerrans “is lucky he was wearing a protective vest” but still felt a sharp pain in his back and neck.

But Rose’s lawyer, Alameda County Associate Public Defender Kathleen Guneratne, told jurors that Rose should be found not guilty of all the charges against him because the prosecution failed to prove its case against him beyond a reasonable doubt.

Guneratne said Gerrans was not acting lawfully during the Dec. 30 protest because he should have known that his fellow officers didn’t have probable cause to arrest Bate.

She said, “Police have to follow the rules” and alleged that Oakland officers had no authority to arrest Bate because she and other Occupy Oakland protesters had a permit to be at Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Wagstaffe said today that he is “pleased” that Rose was convicted of deterring an officer because it means that the jury believes police were acting lawfully during the protest on Dec. 30.

He said, “The jury did the right thing because I think Mr. Rose is a rogue individual who was acting outside the goals of the occupy movement.”

Guneratne said she is “grateful” that jurors didn’t convict Rose of a felony count of assault on a peace officer.

Wagstaffe said Rose could face up to three years in prison when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon sentences him on May 24 but he also could be placed on probation.

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