A federal judge is allowing protesters to proceed with a class-action lawsuit against Oakland and Alameda County

U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson granted class certification Friday for the 150 plaintiffs arrested Nov. 5, 2010, while protesting the sentence given to Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant III.

The plaintiffs, represented by the National Lawyers Guild, said Oakland police herded them into a residential block where they were arrested, denied bathroom access for eight hours and later placed into crowded county jail cells.

"California law requires most misdemeanor arrestees to be released at the scene or at the police station, but in Alameda County, even very minor charges often result in extended periods of time in jail," said the plaintiff's attorney Rachel Lederman.

The Nov. 5 protest was largely peaceful, although a prior protest following the verdict in the Mehserle case did become violent with some protesters damaging property in downtown Oakland.



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