DefendJ20 Updates on 1st Trial Block
This week, we air a conversation recorded on Friday, after the final arguments in the case of the first trial group of the J20 arrestees, the 194 people facing as many as 60 years in Federal prison for the property damage that occurred on January 20th, 2017, in Washington D.C. during the inauguration of Donald Trump. The march was advertised as an Anti-Fascist and Anti-Capitalist protest against the incoming administration. The march started with as many as 500 participants and ranged 16 city blocks, often chased by police spraying super soaker-style guns filled with OC pepper spray, stingball grenades, concussion grenades and swinging batons. At the intersection of 12th & L, people were pushed into a kettle where many were forced to sit in the January cold and mist for over 6 hours without water, without medication or professional medical aid, in clothing soaked in OC spray, having to relieve themselves outside and among other people. The property damage at the center of this case amounted to 5 chain businesses windows. And now the trial is moving forward, drawing 6-8 defendants to D.C. at a time, this first group’s trial lasting 4 weeks thus far (plus however long jury deliberation will take). The trials have led to pressures on individuals, relationships, loss of employment and income, legal and other huge costs and threaten to pave a path in this administration and beyond of the criminalization of participation in street demonstrations in the U.S. The attempts at criminalizing street medics and journalists, as well, for being present also poses a dangerous precedent.
For the hour, we spoke with Betty Rothstein of DefendJ20Resistance and Jude Ortiz of DefendJ20Resistance and the Titled Scales Collective, about how the case is going as this first trial group finishes up it’s defense and the prosecution fires it’s last shots.
More on the case and how to offer support can be found at DefendJ20Resistance.Org , by signing up for their email newsletter and listening to their regular podcast updates on the trial. They are also on twitter, fedbook and instagram.