OAKLAND -- A radio journalist and medical marijuana activist was sentenced in federal court Friday to five years of probation for assaulting a deputy U.S. marshal during a raid on a dispensary in 2012.
Jose Gutierrez, 51, of Sonoma County, a contributor to Berkeley-based radio station KPFA, was sentenced by visiting U.S. District Judge William Shubb.
He was convicted by a jury in Shubb's court in Oakland in October of assaulting deputy U.S. marshal Shaygan Shakeri on April 2, 2012, outside a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, the Coffeeshop Blue Sky, that was being searched by federal agents.
Several deputy marshals, including Shakeri, had been called from the Oakland Federal Building to help the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service agents walk out of the dispensary, carrying seized evidence, through a crowd of protesters.
The dispensary search followed a raid on Oaksterdam University, a cannabis trade school in Oakland, earlier that day.
Federal prosecutors alleged in a sentencing brief that Gutierrez, carrying a protest sign, attempted to elbow Shakeri in the back and then struck him in the back with both hands, causing him to stagger forward.
They asked for a sentence of six months in jail and six months of home confinement for Gutierrez.
Defense attorneys contended in their brief that Gutierrez "made inadvertent contact" with Shakeri and had a "reflex-like reaction" after being pushed forward by the crowd.
They argued the incident was not an unprovoked assault, but rather "the product of the foreseeable consequences of government agents commingling themselves within a group of heated protestors whom are protesting their actions."
Defense attorneys had asked for a sentence of either probation or no more than six months in custody.
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