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Update on student who fell from I-880 highway overpass
by kathy wallerstein and pablo cepero
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 1:03 PM
hi, we were there and saw it all. we were the only 2 witnesses from the ground to what happened. stayed with him til ambulance came and have been in touch with hospital and family. he is 15, a skyline high school student named francois zimany. by some incredible miracle he is ok. we will post a longer statement later. he fell a long long way (25-30 ft) in a way that was obviously not a jump - his body was tumbling through the air. this happened right when the cops charged the crowd so it seems likely to us that he was accidentally pushed over or chased over. he landed flat on his back onto asphalt with visible injury to his head. he was unconscious for about ten minutes then later going in and out of consciousness. he has fractured skull etc but no broken back and more or less will recover though there is some question about his vision and not all test results are in. he's regaining some memory so maybe we will find out more. we are going to visit him now and will update.
§vid here
by vid Friday Mar 5th, 2010 3:29 PM
§Francois Zimany is recovering
by Pablo Cepero (beehappy747 [at] Friday Mar 5th, 2010 7:47 PM
Reference: abc helicopter video

Francois was wearing brown pants and a dark sweatshirt over a light t-shirt. It looks like him running up to edge and looking over at 1:05. At this location the freeway is almost 40’ above 5th Ave. This person points and they all run down towards where they are later confronted by cops. At 1:35 they are all near the tree. The freeway is about 25’ above the street here. The tree shakes and you could see a person (woman?) in a white sweatshirt looking over the edge at 1:41. She likely saw him fall. Then she is brought down from behind by cop. At 1:56 you could see me running up to him on the street, waiving my arms cause traffic wasn’t stopping. At 2:15 a cop car comes up wrong direction of street to where we were. It is possible that he may have climbed up on ledge and tried to climb into the tree or that something caused him to fall from here. We saw his body falling adjacent to the tree but not through the tree. There was one small (.5” diameter) branch broken near the top of the tree, no other damage throughout tree. He did not jump - his body was tumbling as he fell through the air and he landed on his back and side of his head, not on his feet. His legs are not broken as would be the case from jumping.

Francois left Highland hospital tonight and is at home in Oakland with his parents and two younger siblings. He has fractures in his skull and pelvis and wrist. He has swelling behind his right eye that may lead to vision problems but for now his vision is good. He is in a lot of pain and feels exhausted. He will not be walking around for a while. His face is purple and swollen. He is in good spirits and happy to be alive and with his folks. He has memory loss and though he remembers going to the protest, he can’t remember with whom or anything about going onto the freeway or laying on the ground with Kathy and I before going to the hospital.

There is another video in which the woman with the white sweatshirt appears earlier and I will try and post a link. Francois’ parents would love to speak with anyone who witnessed what took place from up on the freeway since Kathy and I only saw him from the point where he was tumbling through the air. If anyone knows who the woman in the white sweater is or anyone else who was in that group arrested near the tree, please let me know and I will pass on the info.

In case anyone needs to get ahold of me: beehappy747 [at]

-Pablo Cepero
§contact info
by kathy wallerstein (kwallerstein [at] Friday Mar 5th, 2010 8:36 PM
Just wanted to add that people can also contact me at kwallerstein [at] And that we will post updates as we have them on Francois.
Peace, Kathy

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by IMCista
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 1:39 PM
thank you, thank you, thank you.
by Anon
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 1:44 PM
I was arrested on the bridge close to the spot where the guy went over. Two caveats: (1) I didn't see him go over, and (2) it all happened really, really fast.

BUT, based on where the action was, this wasn't a spot where there were a lot of people and a scuffle where one would be accidently pushed off the bridge. Most of the arrests were on the other side of the highway, whereas the spot the kid fell off was on the other bridge (where traffic was going in the opposite direction). Where we were, there were only maybe 10 people, and everyone just sort of lay down when the cops got close with their guns on us. By that point, I think the kid had already gone over.

It was very quick, and very scary, and the notion that someone would make a hasty jump for it seems, to me, the far more likely option.
by reader
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 1:49 PM
Thanks for the detailed update.

>>he landed flat on his back onto asphalt with visible injury to his head. he was unconscious for about ten minutes then later going in and out of consciousness.

Unfortunately he may suffer with a brain injury from this for the rest of his life. It's called Traumatic Brain Injury and when it involves LOC (loss of consciousness) a person is far more likely to have permanent changes (i.e., unable to sleep through a night, nonstop headaches, irritability, can't focus, etc) or even seizures later on in life. If you are in touch with him you should tell him to keep pushing to see neurologists and to get TBI treatment. Very subtle brain injuries that don't show up on scans -- such as shear injuries to brain cells -- can destroy people's lives when doctors tell them they are fine, when they are not. If he continues to have problems, tell him to keep pushing for rehab. It's hugely important to stay connected.

The good thing is that a teenage brain can reroute around problems easier than a 25 or 35 year old brain.
by kgo
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 2:18 PM

This was on the other thread. Nobody in the mix of protesters had the tools to take equivalent video.

Near 1:50 in the video, it is very fast. You can't quite see the positions of police officers on the freeway, or how many people are on the far side of the tree. The people the camera is focusing on all lay down pretty quickly as though they are being ordered. I can only see the motorcycle officer, but it seems like there are officers on food additional to this, who are giving the orders.
The tree sort of shakes, and 10 seconds later you can see someone below the tree running to someone's assistance?
by cop pushed him
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 2:57 PM
the cop on the bike to the right of the shot, just right of the tree, at about 1:40 seconds in looks like he pushes someone toward the edge of freeway. then you see no one where he was pushing and you see tree shake. then the cop just drives away, probably in case anyone being arrested pointed out what he just did. it may have been an accident, not intending to push person off the edge, but it was at least completely reckless to push someone that close to edge and to drive off is clearly criminal and negligent, unless he was rushing to street level to medically assist person he just almost killed
by deanosor
(deanosor [at] Friday Mar 5th, 2010 5:31 PM
and does he or his family need anything? This is at least negligence.
by .
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 7:00 PM
Was it the guy with the red sweatshirt?

I see a person in red, and two people with red backpacks, and someone in brown. The red person isn't visible after they kneel by the police, but he could be concealed by the ledge of the freeway. The motorcycle officer seems to be jabbing at someone in brown. The freeway has a curb which would allow someone to have the railing come up to 2.5ft, so someone could easily fall. From what I see, one couldn't pick between him being pushed somehow and falling, and jumping. You'd think we could see someone leaping, and that they'd land face forward or at least grab the tree if they decided to jump.
by Apple
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 9:42 PM
East Bay Hella Free Day
In Honor of our friend Francois.

Francois has suffered serious injuries as a result of the freeway action on March Fourth. He will have a long recovery ahead. Francois is a high school student who was active in the radical community through Food Not Bombs, and other groups; he was going to be a driving force in this month's Hella Free Day but this devastating accident has ocurred. So, we're still going to gather in his honor near Lake Merrit to exchange clothes, food, music, friendship and ideas (bring any and all of these things to share/exchange) - all Hella Free! Please Come out to celebrate Francois' life, and help to build a strong community outside the grips of capitalism.

Sunday, March 7
At the North Side of Lake Merrit, near Grand Ave.
Noon-Four O'clock
by .......
Friday Mar 5th, 2010 11:29 PM
it may be a good idea to keep specific information about this from witnesses off the internet. are lawyers working on this? if so how can they be contacted?
by Legal Observer Four
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 12:10 AM
I don't know if anyone has specifically been attached to Francois' case. When in doubt, ....., the National Lawyer's Guild will always aggregate data about things like this.; 415-285-1011.
by Pigs need to get die
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 8:57 AM
Are we gonna riot or what? A fuckin 15-year old Kid gets pushed off the freeway and we're not gonna do shit about it? Berkeley and Oakland need to burn! Cops better watch out.
by the way
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 9:40 AM
dont post eye witness accounts on the interenet. if they cops pushed him they are already going to be getting stories strait, every bit of information is important.
by Stan
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 12:06 PM
Thanks very much for your update . KTVU 2 's reports made it sound like he could die from his injuries , saying that ''he faded in and out of consiousness'' and that he was in ''critical condition ''. The SF Chron. just quoted a cop who said '' that the man was expected to survive .''
I'm not an anarchist and i have extreme reservations about the tactic of Freeway blockades. But that doesn't detract one iota from concern for both the physical safety of those that do and their legal situation .
If the Alameda County DA's office decides to prosecute those busted I and many others will also be in the courtrooms to show solidarity .
by Wack logic
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 4:14 PM
He didn't land on his feet, so he couldn't have jumped?

The cop probably pushed him and now they're covering it up?

If this weren't so serious, I'd be laughin at your inane logic. Most likely reality here is a 15 year old kid panicked when he saw the cops pullin up on all sides, thought he could grab onto the tree to escape, and miscalculated.

Hope he recovers and wish him the best, but I'm not buying all your conspiracy b.s. logic.
by the way
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 4:16 PM
i think it should also be noted that while we were on the hwy some of the police were telling us that he had died. and even if that cop on the bike didnt push him off he must have seen him fall and left, doing nothing. FUCK THE POLICE! heartless fucking bastards were joking about it and laughing at him.
by someone who cares
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 5:33 PM
Were you there? It was the boy in brown paints and black shirt.Did you see anything about him?
by Aaron Aarons
(indy2 [at] Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 5:55 PM
Wack: "He didn't land on his feet, so he couldn't have jumped?"

Wack left out this from Pablo Cepero: "his body was tumbling as he fell through the air".

This still doesn't show, and Pablo doesn't claim that it shows, that he was pushed. He could have fallen, perhaps when trying to grab the tree. But that's not the same as jumping.

Wack: "The cop probably pushed him and now they're covering it up?"

Only one or two anonymous (like Wack) posters say that the cops did, or probably did, push François Zimany. But, more importantly, IF a cop caused him to fall, intentionally or otherwise, the cops as a whole would certainly be covering it up!

Wack: "I'm not buying all your conspiracy b.s. logic."

It's interesting how defenders of the ruling order's narratives love to use that word, 'conspiracy', usually in the phrase 'conspiracy theory', to dismiss potentially subversive accounts of happenings in the world. They also use the same word (without 'theory' tacked on) to throw their real or imagined enemies (Muslims, environmentalists, animal-rights activists) in prison for a long time for doing essentially nothing. And, as I pointed out above, cops do quite regularly and systematically conspire to hide the misdeeds of their fellow uniformed thugs.
by klone1
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 7:38 PM
i was all over the place, saw lots of crazy shit, had to have missed him fall by mere minutes if not less as i was in that very spot before searching for a roof top along the freeway. jumped, pushed, fell?? jumping does not necessarily mean you will land on your feet.. the tree could have redirected his landing position during fall. from that height falling or being pushed with out any obstruction (the tree) would most likely land him on his back, not his feet, as contact to the railing would turn his body before falling. it is also unlikely that he will be able to remember the events just before. instead of attacking each others comments, we need to try to figure out what happened detective style, which is what seems to be happening with this thread. i support that, and i support all the actions that took place on March Fourth.
by but
Saturday Mar 6th, 2010 11:45 PM
this is kinda funny

someone apparently wasn't happy with the silent video above, so they took it and made this

guessing that the video editor didn't intend to demean the seriousness of Francois' injuries
by Wack Logic
Sunday Mar 7th, 2010 8:26 AM
And you just fed that theory yourself while providing perfect example and evidence of why I call it a conspiracy theory.

You post "But, more importantly, IF a cop caused him to fall,".

So what your saying is that, even though there is NO evidence of such, other than the conjuring possibility by an anonymous poster...even if the video evidence doesn't show a cop within 10 yards of the kid...but push those inconsequentialities aside....IF a cop cause the fall.

*lol* Yes Aaron, conspiracy theory. And that conspiracy is being cooked up right here on this website by a handful of rumor mongers with no evidence. This is a classic example of conspiracy theory at work. Cookup the story first, find the data to fit the scenario later.
by pablo Cepero
Sunday Mar 7th, 2010 11:50 AM
@wack. i am not at all conspiracy theorist. i saw a 15 year old boy falling from 25' to the pavement and nearly die. i was the first respondent, checking his vitals, securing that he did not move until he was transfered to a back board to protect his spinal column and speaking to him as he came in and out of consciousness. you can understand my concern to find out how it happened. i am just trying to deduct what happened from all the available evidence. i mentioned he did not "jump" because that is what the police were stating to the news who were then repeating it. all evidence points against him jumping. we have pictures of that group and together with the video and first hand accounts from people in that group we are piecing it all together. one thing is certain: it happened really quick. i expect that we will find someone soon who witnessed him falling from above. the best witness would be francois himself - only he would know what his intentions were or were not and how he came to fall off the freeway - but he is only slowly regaining some memory of the events on march 4th due to the concussion and he may never regain all of his memory.

to everyone - please try and keep the discussion here positive and productive.

by Aaron Aarons
(indy2 [at] Sunday Mar 7th, 2010 2:57 PM
Wack: "This is a classic example of conspiracy theory at work. Cookup the story first, find the data to fit the scenario later."

That's pretty much what cops and DA's do hundreds of times every day around the U.S., except that the word 'find' is often a euphemism for 'manufacture'.

Aaron: "But, more importantly, IF a cop caused him to fall, intentionally or otherwise, the cops as a whole would certainly be covering it up! "

Wack leaves off everything after the word "fall" and then tries to imply that I am suggesting that "a cop caused him to fall", when I was clearly making a point about police behavior in general WHEN, as often happens, one or more of them do, in fact, commit an act they want to cover up. That last assertion is not conspiracy "theory", but conspiracy fact. Also, it should be clear to the less wacky reader that I was using the qualifier "more importantly" in relation to my refutation of Wacky's "conspiracy theory" nonsense and not in relation to the question of what actually happened to Francois. I was, in fact, not dealing with the latter at all.

Wacky's response is another confirmation of what I wrote above: "[...] defenders of the ruling order's narratives love to use that word, 'conspiracy', usually in the phrase 'conspiracy theory', to dismiss potentially subversive accounts of happenings in the world." And I'll add, they lump together under that label the most reasonable charges of ruling-class criminality with the most patently absurd ones in order to discredit the former.
by pablo Cepero
Monday Mar 8th, 2010 11:33 AM
Police Brutality caught on tape
by Kathy Wallerstein
(kwallerstein [at] Wednesday Mar 10th, 2010 2:30 AM
Pablo and I visited Francois and his family yesterday and are so pleased to report that he is doing a lot better. He is up and walking, slowly. He gets tired easily and still has memory problems, both about that day (still draws total blank on being on the freeway) and in the present. He's had additional medical visits and found out his eye is going to be ok. More visits/tests to come but really, he is in remarkably great shape.

The family is really appreciative of all the support everyone has been giving them.