Over 150 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) gathered outside the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland, Calif., Oct. 5, to protest the arraignment of two ILWU Local 10 members on charges of obstructing justice.

The protesters charged that, instead, the two were victims of police brutality when police officers assaulted and arrested them on the West Sacramento docks Aug. 23.

Local 10 spokesmen said the two workers, Aaron Harrison and Jason Ruffin, both African Americans, were stopped by port security as they returned from their lunch break to the terminal where they were working. When the two challenged security personnel’s right to search their car, and phoned their union representative, the guards called West Sacramento police.

The union said the police then dragged Harrison and Ruffin from the car, maced them and arrested them for trespassing and resisting arrest.

Former Local 10 President Trent Willis called the incident “a clear case of police brutality and racial profiling,” and urged that the charges be dropped.

West Sacramento police claimed the search was a routine, random procedure.

Arraignment of the two was continued until Oct. 22, to give their attorneys time to review the evidence.

mbechtel @pww.org

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