Protesters who blocked highway off-ramp near SFO reach plea deal

Eight women who blocked a highway off-ramp to San Francisco International Airport in December to protest the police shooting of Mario Woods reached a plea deal with prosecutors on Tuesday.

The women will perform community service and pay restitution to the California Highway Patrol, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

The protesters blocked the U.S. Highway 101 off-ramp to the airport at about noon on Dec. 23, unfurling a banner that read “Justice for Mario Woods.” Woods had been shot and killed by five San Francisco police officers during a confrontation in the city’s Bayview District on Dec. 2.

According to prosecutors, multiple people called authorities about the protest, saying they feared they would miss their flight and that some motorists were getting out of their cars to confront the protesters. Traffic in the area was significantly backed up.

CHP officers cleared the protesters from the highway after about eight minutes and arrested the women. San Mateo County prosecutors charged them with disorderly conduct.

In a plea deal, the protesters agreed to perform 30 hours of community service and pay $282 in restitution to the CHP, divided eight ways.

Seven of the women entered no contest pleas on Tuesday and one other is expected to shortly, prosecutors said.

If they complete the conditions of the plea agreement by their sentencing date on Aug. 16, their charge will be reduced to a disturbing the peace infraction.

The CHP initially said the protesters could be prosecuted for false imprisonment for imprisoning the stuck drivers in their cars.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted such protests in the past. A group of Stanford University students were all charged with misdemeanors for blocking the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge during a Black Lives Matter demonstration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2015.

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