Tell the DoJ: Drop the Charges Against Those Arrested on Inauguration Day
On the day of Trump’s inauguration, police in Washington, D.C. broke with their own protocol and conducted a mass arrest of over 200 protestors. Officers used batons, pepper spray and sting-ball grenades to confine everyone in the vicinity of one of the marches, even sweeping up legal observers, journalists, medics and passersby.
Police then charged each person with eight counts of felony-riot charges — which means that people could face decades in prison for exercising their First Amendment rights.
This protest was one of many actions the group DisruptJ20 organized the week of the inauguration to protest White supremacy, Islamophobia, transphobia and other forms of hate in the White House.
Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are hell-bent on criminalizing opposition to their racist administration and chilling dissent. Since the arrest, police have confiscated individuals’ phones, searched their social-media profiles1 and even raided some people’s homes.2
In warrants released earlier this year, we learned that the government attempted to access the IP addresses of everyone who even visited the DisruptJ20.org website.2 The Justice Department even went after the personal Facebook accounts of the people who organized the Inauguration Day protests.3
While some of the people arrested that day had damaged property and even started small fires, a felony-riot charge is an extreme reaction from an administration that’s proven to be intolerant of dissent.
This response could also deter others from taking to the streets to confront Trump and his administration’s agenda.
Don’t let the Justice Department criminalize our rights to free speech and free expression.
Tell the government to drop the charges against those arrested on Inauguration Day.
1. “Police Mine Facebook for Data on Inauguration Protesters,” Naked Security, Feb. 8, 2017: https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/02/08/police-mine-facebook-for-data-on-inauguration-protesters/
2.“Democracy in Crisis: Police Raid J20 Activist’s Home,” Washington City Paper, April 7, 2017: https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/columns/article/20857558/democracy-in-crisis-dc-police-raid-j20-activists-home
2. “The Justice Department Is Demanding Information on Visitors to an Anti-Trump Site,” The Verge, Aug. 14, 2017: https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/14/16145812/justice-department-disruptj20-trump-website-warrant
3. “DoJ Demands Facebook Information from Anti-Administration Activists,” CNN, Sept. 30, 2017: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/28/politics/facebook-anti-administration-activists/index.html
Original photo by Flickr user Alisdare Hickson