An Occupy Oakland protester with a lengthy criminal record pleaded not guilty today to charges that he assaulted an Alameda County sheriff's deputy at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on Dec. 17.
Marcel Johnson, 38, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court in Pleasanton on Feb. 6 for a pretrial hearing, according to
District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick.
Johnson, who has six prior felony convictions and is being held in custody in lieu of $585,000 bail, was arrested on misdemeanor charges at a
police raid at Occupy Oakland on Dec. 16.
He's charged with assault on a custodial officer for allegedly assaulting a deputy at the Santa Rita Jail the following night.
According to a report filed by the Sheriff's Office, when a deputy at the jail tried to handcuff Johnson at about 7:40 p.m. on Dec. 17 to move him to a different unit, Johnson "violently pulled away" from the deputy and attempted to strike the deputy in the head with his free arm.
Johnson then wrapped his arms around the deputy's waist and attempted to push him forward, the report said.
Another deputy grabbed Johnson's legs and struck him on his torso to try to control him but Johnson still managed to wrap his right arm around the first deputy's neck and throat, according to the report.
The first deputy was able to free himself from Johnson's hold after the second deputy struck Johnson in the head with his palm and elbow
multiple times, the report said.
The first deputy suffered from swelling to his left eye, an abrasion to his chin, scratches and lacerations to his left and right forearms, pain to his neck and exposure to Johnson's blood, according to the report.
A third deputy who responded to the situation suffered a minor concussion when he was inadvertently struck in the head with a baton during the melee, the report said.
Johnson could have faced life in prison if he's convicted of the new assault charge because his situation could be considered a three-strikes
case, but the District Attorney's Office has chosen not to pursue three-strikes allegations against him at this time, Drenick said.
However, if Johnson is convicted, his sentence would be increased if the allegation that he has six prior felony convictions is found to be true, she said.
Johnson's alleged prior convictions are for receiving stolen property in Sacramento County in 1992, evading a police officer in San Francisco in 1992, leaving the scene of an accident in San Francisco in 1992, two counts of second-degree robbery in Solano County in 1993 and attempted
corporal injury to a spouse, cohabitant or child's parent in Los Angeles County in 2002.
Occupy Oakland spokespersons weren't available for comment on Johnson's case.