Occupy Oakland activist Marcel Johnson—better known as the vocal, omnipresent camper named Khali—was arrested on December 16 outside Oakland's City Hall for a dispute over a blanket which his attorney Dan Siegel says amounted to a littering charge. 38-year-old Khali ended up getting shipped off to the county lock-up because he was in violation of his probation from a different case in Sacramento. A week later, he got into a physical altercation with a peace officer at the jail, which resulted in a felony assault charge —a third strike for Khali who has already spent about 15 years incarcerated. (See the above interview from early December.)

Siegel, who's not representing him in the assault case, has gotten a judge to order a medical evaluation of Khali—something that had not occurred after the December 16 arrest. He argues that the altercation only occurred because Khali was put in solitary confinement and not given medication he needs for mental illness.

The Occupiers have now launched a Free Khali Committee, an offshoot of the Anti-Repression Committeee, to try to advocate on his behalf.

Also, Daily Kos picked up the story today, with the headline: The Story of Khali. A Modern American Political Prisoner.

[East Bay Express]