Right now, if all is going according to plan, a group of UC Irvine students and associates are protesting outside the offices of the Orange County district attorney because the DA has subpoenaed six Anteaters to testify before a grand jury. The students aren't just your typical coeds, but rather members of the UC Irvine 11, the group that disrupted a speech by Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.
This isn't the first time Anteaters and their supporters have risen up against what they feel is an overzealous, racist DA.
Almost 40 years ago, more than 200 protesters turned out for a pretrial hearing against Arthur League, a Black Panther Party member accused of murdering Santa Ana police officer Nelson Sasscer in 1969. The circumstances and aftermath of the murder and the individuals around it continue to reverberate in county life, but the protesters showed up in court because the prosecution of Sasscer's alleged murderers up to that point by then-OC DA Cecil Hicks had been a crock. Hicks had convinced the grand jury to indict Daniel Michael Lynem, the leader of the Orange County chapter of the Black Panther Party, in June 1969 for Sasscer's killing, even though the DA had no direct evidence tying him to the murder. A sheepish Hicks had to release Lynem after a month, and the protesters who showed up to League's trial in 1970 remembered.
UC Irvine's school newspaper, the New University, covered the protest then, as I'm sure they'll cover today's Irvine 11 rally. It featured a great photo of the masses, fists raised in the air, just outside the Orange County Courthouse, with the subhead “Can a Black Panther Find Justice in a Santa Ana Court?” Let's see what mañana's New U prints. . . .