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Three Occupy Oakland Members Charged With Robbery, Hate Crimes After Allegedly Attacking Woman During Protest

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Three Occupy Oakland protesters suspected of battering a California woman, stealing her wallet and making anti-gay remarks to her have been arrested and charged with robbery and committing a hate crime, according to the Oakland Tribune.

Michael Davis, 32, Nneka Crawford, 23, and Randolph Wilkins, 24 were each charged Friday on felony counts of robbery and hate crimes after they allegedly confronted the woman on the streets of Oakland in February when she told them not to riot in her neighborhood, Reuters reported.

The Tribune reported:

The confrontation happened about 6 p.m. Feb. 22 in the 4000 block of Piedmont Avenue. Police said that some Occupy Oakland protesters were demonstrating against a Wells Fargo Bank branch there when a woman across the street expressed her opinion about the Occupy movement and the way it's being handled, [lead investigator Sgt. Randy] Wingate said.

Wingate said a handful of protesters quickly surrounded her and prevented from leaving the area. Her wallet was taken from her purse, and protesters yanked a Barack Obama pin from her clothing, police said.

Wingate said she was also verbally abused, including making derogatory remarks about her perceived sexuality. A protester punched the woman, and she was bruised and scratched in the altercation. [Assistant District Attorney Paul] Hora charged the three with a felony robbery and a felony hate crime because the woman was injured in addition to being verbally insulted.

The unnamed woman, said to be 42 years old and a 20-year resident of the neighborhood, managed to break away from the group and call police.

Authorities said another protester shot a video of the alleged confrontation, which police viewed on the Internet to help identify the suspects. It has since been removed, the Tribune reported.

Occupy Oakland protester Leah told San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO-TV she helped organize the Feb. 22 protest and that the allegations against the three demonstrators are false. She claimed to have witnessed the incident, but said under advice from the National Lawyers Guild she could not provide a detailed account of what she saw.

Still, she said protesters were not attempting to incite a riot and that she did not believe anyone involved in Occupy Oakland would discriminate against anyone's sexuality.

Occupy Oakland has been marked by violence and rioting, including repeated clashes with police.

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