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Ten Charged With Trespassing, Obstructing In Banner-Hanging Rally

A protester watches a banner unfurl from the roof of the Westin San Diego in ...

Photo by Megan Burks

Above: A protester watches a banner unfurl from the roof of the Westin San Diego in downtown, July 2, 2018.

Ten people who participated in an immigration rally in downtown San Diego last month, during which two of them rappelled off the 16th floor of the Westin Gaslamp hotel to hang a large banner, have been charged with misdemeanor trespassing and resisting or delaying officers, City Attorney Mara Elliott announced Tuesday.

All 10 defendants entered the hotel with the intent of trespassing on Westin property, blocking its roof access in order to hang the banner that read, "FREE OUR FAMILIES NOW! #STOPSTREAMLINE," and rappelling off the side of the building without permission, Elliott said.

Five defendants went to the roof. Three appeared to be spotting the two who rappelled off the side of the hotel, the city attorney said. The other five defendants blocked or delayed hotel and law enforcement personnel from accessing the roof, some by chaining themselves inside a stairwell, she said.

"I sympathize with the protesters' message that families should not be torn apart, but do not condone their tactics,'' the city attorney said.

"Their actions required a robust public safety response. Police officers were pulled from our streets and placed in a potentially dangerous situation. So were hotel security personnel and members of the public. Thousands peacefully protested in San Diego this summer without breaking laws or putting others in harm's way. These 10 made a different choice, and will be held accountable.''

An arraignment hearing is set for Sept. 24.

The two alleged rappellers, who are both charged with trespassing, were identified as Kevin Chun Pang, 24, of Columbus, Ohio, and Brittany Renee Baker, 29, of Berkeley.

The other defendants, and the charges they face, are: Ethan Michael Buckner, 28, of Oakland for trespassing to interfere with a business and resisting or delaying a peace officer; Roberta F. Capoblanco, 27, of San Francisco, Katherine Nicole Wires, 31, of Oakland, Nora Wagner Rasman, 33, of Washington, D.C., and Nora Rachel Leccese, 26, of Boulder, Colorado for trespassing and resisting; and Brianna Latrell Gibson, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Jaque Fragua, 31, of Jimenez Pueblo, N.M., and Avery Sinclair, 23, of Washington, D.C., for trespassing.

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