Charges against 4 Beale protesters dropped
Charges against four protesters who were arrested at Beale Air Force Base during an October demonstration have been dropped — while the federal case against five others continues.
Cres Vellucci, spokesman for the Sacramento chapter of Veterans for Peace, said Wednesday that the five remaining defendants turned down a federal offer to pay a $100 fine to end the case that followed the Oct. 30 demonstration at Beale.
"They're pretty determined to have their day in court," Vellucci said. "They're not guilty of what they're charged with."
He said the First Amendment allows citizens to protest.
"When people assert these rights, other people who claim to be patriots object to that," Vellucci said.
The demonstration was peaceful, he added.
"It's not as if they ran onto the base and did some crazy things," Vellucci said.
Lauren Horwood, spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office in Sacramento, said Wednesday that protests took place at two base gates, and evidence wasn't as strong at one of the entrances.
The next hearing for the five defendants, arrested at the North Beale Road entrance, is April 15. They face infractions, akin to traffic tickets, Horwood said, for allegedly entering a military post for a prohibited purpose.
Their arrests followed Beale officials asking them to move their protest off federal property.
The other four people were arrested at the Doolittle Drive gate.
A press release from Veterans for Peace said dozens of activists from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Fresno, Nevada City, Grass Valley and other cities unfurled large banners on the day of the arrests. The release refers to the "Beale 9."