Over the weekend of Donald Trump’s inauguration, thousands of people from all regions converged on the streets of Washington, DC, and unleashed countless, diverse displays of resistance against the white supremacy, xenophobia, and fascism legitimized by the election. Some victories were won, and many bonds were strengthened that will be crucial in the coming years of resistance.
Unfortunately, the increased repression that many expected to take hold under the Trump administration began on day one. According to the DC National Lawyers Guild:
“Breaking with the last decade of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) practice, police ‘kettled’ (i.e., indiscriminately surrounded and arrested) a group of people at 12th and L Street NW in violation of DC Code § 5–331.07, which prohibits mass arrests and requires law enforcement to give dispersal warnings. MPD also needlessly deployed tear gas, pepper spray, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, and batons. Despite the media’s focus on isolated incidents of property destruction, MPD indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone.”
Two hundred and twenty-two of these arrestees were ultimately charged with felony rioting, among them three dedicated comrades from West Michigan.
While this single felony charge was extreme to begin with -- many of the attorneys involved in the case have said they’ve never seen a felony riot charge before in their careers -- as of April 27, the prosecuting US attorney filed a superseding indictment that charged the defendants with an additional seven felonies related to rioting. The combined charges carry a maximum sentence of over 70 years in prison and fines of over $175,000. These heavy charges are historically unprecedented and intended to intimidate anyone considering taking to the streets for a political demonstration.
Beyond the seriousness of the charges and emotional drain of a potentially long court battle, our comrades also face a heavy financial burden, including legal fees and travel expenses; each will need to make separate trips from West Michigan to DC and back for multiple court dates.
As a gesture of solidarity and support, please make a financial contribution via this online fund-raiser. Help our comrades stay free and continue the fight.
Grand Rabbits Support Crew