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Oakland, CA -- A medical marijuana activist and journalist who was brutally arrested in April 2012 during federal raids on multiple licensed businesses in Oakland will be sentenced Friday. Despite video evidence of the brutality leveled against Jose Gutierrez, he was prevented from raising it as a defense in his October 4th trial and was, himself, convicted of assault on a federal officer. Gutierrez, who faces 8 years in prison, will be sentenced in Oakland this Friday, January 10th at 10:30am.
What: Federal sentencing hearing for medical marijuana activist arrested during federal raids
When: Friday, January 10, 2014 at 10:30am
Where: Oakland Federal Courthouse, 1301 Clay Street, before Judge William Shubb
"This is a case of the federal government trying to rewrite history in order to divert attention from its highly aggressive and harmful raid on medical marijuana businesses in Oakland," said E.D. Lerman, one of the attorneys representing Gutierrez. "It's outrageous that the Obama Justice Department would conduct, let alone prioritize, a frivolous prosecution such as Mr. Gutierrez's." Although Gutierrez faces 8 years in federal prison, his probation report recommends 6 months in prison and 6 months in a halfway house.
At the time of the April 2012 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids, Gutierrez was acting as a journalist, reporting live for KPFA's Flashpoints program. Gutierrez, who was bringing attention to multiple federal raids being conducted that day on one of Oakland's licensed dispensaries, Cafe Blue Sky, and the closely connected medical marijuana college, Oaksterdam University, believes he was mistakenly targeted as a "ringleader."
A Freedom of Information Act request filed by MuckRock.com shows that the Oakland Police Department felt the raid had poor communication, no clear central command and lacked an exit strategy. Furthermore, the failure of law enforcement to properly secure the area is what led to failed crowd control. J. Tony Serra, another attorney for Gutierrez, said in a previous statement that the police were derelict in their duties and failed to properly execute the search warrant. "Their lack of preparation, communication and control led to Jose Gutierrez being the victim of an unnecessary and brutal attack, and he committed no crime," said Serra.
Gutierrez, who is being represented by J. Tony Serra, E.D. Lerman, and Omar Figueroa, has vowed to appeal his conviction to the Ninth Circuit soon after his sentencing.
FOIA information on DEA raid: https://www.muckrock.com/foi/oakland-96/oaksterdam-university-raid-oakland-1222/
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