Two City College of San Francisco students injured during a protest on campus in March plan to take legal action against the city and county of San Francisco as well as the San Francisco Community College District.
Rachel Lederman, president of the Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, announced she intends to file claims today on behalf of Otto Pippenger and Dimitrios Philliou, who were both arrested and injured during the March 13 protest that called for the resignation of Special Trustee Robert Agrella, reinstatement of the elected board of trustees and reversal of new fee rules.
The protest ended at CCSF's administrative center, Conlan Hall, where campus police -- and later reinforcements from the Police Department -- tried to block students from entering the building. Whether protesters or police caused the escalation is still under debate.
Six campus police officers were also injured during the protest.
On Monday, Lederman blamed the violence on police and said Pippenger suffered a concussion and both his wrists were fractured, while Philliou was pepper-sprayed "right in the eyes at close range" and tackled to the ground.
"As well as pushing and shoving a number of other students, it was all very unnecessary," Lederman said. The claims will seek medical expenses for Pippenger and Philliou as well as "better training" for police to handle such situations, she said.
Chancellor Art Tyler has launched an independent review of events surrounding the protest and urged the college community to engage in a respectful dialogue rather than violence. He has said Conlan Hall staff members expressed concern for the safety of their work environment after the altercations.
A news conference to announce the filing of the claims is scheduled for this morning in front of Conlan Hall.
Last June, the school's accrediting body voted to terminate CCSF's accreditation, effective this July. But in January, a judge barred the accreditor from taking any action until a lawsuit filed by The City has been resolved. The termination was not linked to academics.
Losing accreditation would effectively force CCSF to close.