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Three Occupy Oakland protesters charged with hate crimes

(Reuters) - Three Occupy Oakland protesters accused of surrounding and taunting a woman before stealing her wallet were charged on Friday with robbery and hate crimes, authorities said.

Michael Davis, 32, Nneka Crawford, 23, and Randolph Wilkins, 24, confronted the woman on the streets of Oakland in February after she told them not to riot in her neighborhood, the Oakland Police said in a written release.

"She was surrounded by three protestors and battered as they yelled vulgar epithets regarding their perception of her sexual orientation," Oakland Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.

The female victim was not identified except as a 20-year resident of the neighborhood.

"Her wallet was taken during the crime," Watson said. "The victim broke away from the group and called police, who were able to arrest one suspect near the scene."

Watson said the other two suspects were arrested at a February 29 Occupy Oakland protest.

Each was charged by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office with felony counts of robbery and hate crimes, Watson said.

An Occupy Oakland organizer could not be reached for comment on Friday evening.

A rallying cry of the movement has been that 1 percent of the population has too much of the nation's wealth and the remaining 99 percent is disadvantaged.

It has lost momentum in recent months after police cleared encampments in New York, Oakland and other major cities.

(Reporting by Emmett Berg; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Tim Gaynor)

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