An Occupy Oakland protester has been convicted of felony vandalism for smashing the windows of an Oakland police Internal Affairs and Recruiting Office during a general strike protest on Nov. 3.
Cesar Aguirre, 24, of Elk Grove, who was remanded into custody after he was convicted on Monday, faces up to three years in state prison when he's sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson on Sept. 10.
Prosecutors said Aguirre was dressed in all-black clothing and wore goggles and a dust mask in the general strike protest.
They said Aguirre grabbed a red metal folding chair and walked to the windows of the Oakland police Internal Affairs and Recruiting Office and swung the chair at the glass windows and doors multiple times before discarding the chair.
Prosecutors said Aguirre then used his body weight to push up against the wooden boards that had been placed behind the glass to prevent entry into the office.
They said an Oakland police officer witnessed Aguirre's actions from a nearby parking structure and kept his eyes on him until he was arrested by a second officer. Aguirre had glass shards on his sleeves when he was arrested, according to police.
Prosecutors said Aguirre broke a total of six windows and one door, which resulted in $6,654.63 in damages. Prosecutors are asking that Aguirre pay that amount in restitution.
The Oakland City Attorney filed a lawsuit against Aguirre on March 7 to recover that same amount to pay for the cost of repairs and also seek unspecified punitive damages.
The protest in the early morning hours of Nov. 3 followed a day-long general strike in Oakland on Nov. 2 in which thousands of people marched throughout the city, culminating with a massive march that shut down the Port of Oakland.
The largely peaceful demonstrations during the day grew confrontational that night and into the next morning, when a group of protesters broke into the vacant Travelers Aid Society building adjacent to Frank Ogawa Plaza, where there was a large Occupy Oakland encampment at the time.
City attorneys said Aguirre was arrested at about 1 a.m., shortly after police arrived and tear-gassed the rowdy demonstration. Dozens of protesters were arrested over the next several hours, and one protester was seriously injured and required surgery.
Aguirre's attorney, John Kaman, said that he is "particularly incensed by the verdict."
Kaman said he presented photos during Aguirre's two-day trial indicating that the police officer who identified Aguirre as the suspect was 70 yards away and couldn't have gotten a good look at Aguirre, but jurors issued a verdict against him after only 15 minutes of deliberation, without looking at the defense's photos.
Kaman said he still believes Aguirre "is not guilty of the crime" and he definitely will appeal his conviction.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.