Court orders seminarian to pick up trash ‘for helping homeless man’

Jesuit seminarian, Joseph Hoover (top centre) was sentenced, Monday, to six days in a county jail work program and two years court probation in the first successful case relating to the Occupy Oakland movement.

Hoover was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a thoroughfare during a violent demonstration in January that resulted in the arrests of more than 300 protesters who attempted to take over the vacant Kaiser Convention Center near Lake Merritt.

Hoover, who is studying to be a priest at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, said he was arrested when he stopped in the street to protect a homeless man from being trampled by a line of police officers who were advancing on a group of protesters.

Hoover testified during his brief jury trial and said after his sentencing Monday that he did nothing wrong and obeyed all police orders but was still arrested.

Evidence in the trial, however, revealed that Hoover was an active participant in the protest and did not attend the Jan. 28 demonstration simply to observe.

While a jury found Hoover guilty of obstructing a thoroughfare it deadlocked on a charge against Hoover of resisting arrest, and the District Attorney’s Office decided to drop the charge rather than seek another trial.

Hoover said Monday that he was proud of taking part in an Occupy event and said he has not ruled out doing so again.

“The cop was doing what he felt he had to do and I felt I did what I had to do,” Hoover said. “I’m grateful to be part of the Occupy movement.”

The stated purpose of Occupy Oakland, San Francisco, is to plan actions, mobilize real resistance, and for people to defend themselves from the economic and physical war that is being waged against our communities.


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