US Bank closes UC Davis branch, cites "intolerable" Occupy protests

This was reportedly the scene outside the bank everyday.
This was reportedly the scene outside the bank everyday.

Minneapolis-based US Bank is mad as hell about UC Davis' Occupy protests, and executives aren't going to take it anymore.

Citing the "intolerable" situation created by the daily protests outside the bank's doors, US Bank officials abruptly closed the US Davis branch location at the end of February, ending an agreement with the school that generated upward of $170,000 annually for student activities.

In a letter to officials at the Sacramento-area university, US Bank Senior Vice President Daniel Hoke said the bank had been "constructively evicted" and that its employees were "effectively imprisoned" by the protesters.

From UC Davis' student newspaper, The California Aggie:

This infamous incident took place outside the UC Davis US Bank last November 18.
This infamous incident took place outside the UC Davis US Bank last November 18.

For those involved, the blockade became a daily ritual. Protesters -- typically numbering around 15 -- would arrive around noon, followed by an officer from the campus police department. Thirty minutes later, bank employees would leave and the entire process would be repeated the next day.

University officials contend protesters were in violation of California Penal Code Section 647C, which makes it a misdemeanor to "willfully and maliciously" obstruct the free movement of any person on any street, sidewalk or other public place. However, demonstrators were not arrested. For their part, protesters asserted that a private bank had no place on a public university.

At one point, US Bank went as far as to hire private security guards to stand watch outside the branch, but they were recalled after the university said they weren't acceptable.

Without guards, and with protestors ringing the branch location everyday, US Bank officials apparently came to the conclusion that they have no choice but to close the branch. The bank issued a statement saying "despite our best attempts, we were limited in our ability to resolve the matter and were forced to close the office."

US Bank is seeking damages for lost business. University spokespeople have said they hope to mediate a settlement.

According to the Sacramento Bee, in November 2009, UC Davis announced a 10-year agreement with U.S. Bank to provide nearly $3 million to support student services and bring the campus its first bank branch. Less the three years in, the bank has now pulled out.

The UC Davis US Bank is probably best known as the site of Lt. John Pike's casual pepper-spraying of demonstrators last November.

-- Occupy Homes MN to deliver 6,000 signatures to US Bank

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