First #J20Trial Ends: Round Up as Jury Acquits on All Charges

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By early afternoon NO CHARGES and #J20Trial was trending on Twitter, as a jury in the first round of J20 defendants came back with a complete acquittal on all counts. The decision comes nearly one year after Metropolitan police kettled over 200 people in DC who were demonstrating against the inauguration of Donald Trump. Protesters were stuck in the kettle for hours without access to food, water, bathrooms, and in the aftermath, protesters report to have being sexually assaulted by an officer as an act of collective punishment.

The trial itself represented an attempt by Department of Justice attorneys, who report directly to Jeff Sessions, (long tied to hate groups), to make a case that anyone who attended the protest was taking part in a conspiracy. Throughout the trial, the State also attempted to construct a narrative that the march was intent on randomly attacking people on the street and represented a clear physical danger to everyday working-class people in DC.

In reality, the limited property destruction that did take place involved only a handful of bank and corporate store windows. Furthermore, the brutality of the police showed during the demonstration was horrendous, as police sprayed chemical weapons at elderly people and young children, who were in turn rescued by members of the black bloc who took them to safety by putting their bodies in between the police and the crowd.

During court proceedings, the State also relied heavily on media gathered and produced by a host of Alt-Right, militia, and far-Right trolls, such as the paramilitaries in the Oath Keepers, the disgraced Project Veritas, and even the white nationalist vblogger Lauren Southern. Further still, only days after the demonstrations, a spokeswoman from the police literally sent the entire list of names of those arrested to Alt-Right troll Charles C Johnson, a friend of neo-Nazis Andrew Anglin and Richard Spencer, who then published it on his blog, GotNews, giving a clear green light to the Alt-Right to go after those that would dare stand up to Trump.

After the trial had ended, one juror who spoke to Unicorn Riot stated that based on the opening remarks from the State, the jurors knew from the start that they would not find the defendants guilty, as it was clear that the State had no evidence:

“It was not a close call. The prosecution admitted the morning of day one that they would present no evidence that any of the defendants committed any acts of violence or any vandalism.

From that point, before the defense ever uttered a sound, it was clear to me that ultimately we would find everyone not guilty. And while there was a great deal of careful discussion among the jurors, it ultimately at no point was … did it seem even possible that a guilty verdict would come down.

This was not close.” – Steve, a juror in the J20 trials

#defendj20 #weekofsolidarity #dropthecharges

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However in the face of the news of a complete acquittal, the State doubled down on its intention to prosecute the rest of the 188 defendants:

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia believes that the evidence shows that a riot occurred on January 20, 2017, during which numerous public and private properties were damaged or destroyed. This destruction impacted many who live and work in the District of Columbia, and created a danger for all who were nearby. The criminal justice process ensures that every defendant is judged based on his or her personal conduct and intent. We appreciate the jury’s close examination of the individual conduct and intent of each defendant during this trial and respect its verdict. In the remaining pending cases, we look forward to the same rigorous review for each defendant.”

This is a clear message from the government that it hopes to crush social movements if it can, or at least tie them up in the courts as much as it is able, regardless of the cost to the public, or the stress and pressure placed on those facing upwards of 50+ years in prison. In New Orleans, one person who was arrested at another J20 demonstration in that city, Nathan Hose, committed suicide in August.

We have a long way to go, but the day is ours. #DefendJ20

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Moving forward, we can be sure that the State will try and play up the dichotomy of “good protesters” and “bad protesters.” It will try and demonize those that it claims dared to touch the windows of the financial and corporate institutions which are controlling our society, destroying our planet, and impoverishing the majority of the population, and demonize those it sees as “organizers.”

With this in mind, we need to be clear that those that stood up to Trump on January 20th, are all working-class heroes. As Trump’s level of support hits an all time low as he and other billionaires and corporate CEOs plunder our futures, the eyes of the nation now rest on the brave individuals who have found the courage to stand up for all of us.

On another tip, for those in DC, on Friday December 22nd, there is a dance party called at 12 PM NOON. More info here. For ways to support the J20 defendants, go here. To get involved in the J20 2018 week of outreach and solidarity, go here.

Now here’s a ridiculous yet incomplete social media roundup of people losing their minds as well as some media coverage:

The jury came back Not Fucking Guilty on all charges for all 6 defendants in the first J20 trial!! This is a huge victory that would not have been possible without so much support and solidarity from all over the world! Hug your friends and loved ones close and celebrate tonight, knowing that sometimes we win! But the fight is not over for 186 people still scheduled for trial on felony and misdemeanor charges from J20. Now more than ever is the time for mobilizing support and solidarity and resistance. J20 isn't over until every single fucking last defendant is free! Donation link still in bio. #defendj20 #defendj20resistance #notfuckingguilty #notguilty #acquittal #dropthecharges #dropj20 #jointheresistance #rebelalliance #defendtheresistance #fuckoffkerkhoff #takethatshittotrial #solidarity #sometimeswewin #movementdefensemeansallofus #nooneisfreetilleveryoneisfree #standundermyumbrella #solidarityforever

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6 #j20 defendants down and now 188 more to go! #dropthecharges #defendj20

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