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Jul 20, 21

Trial Set to Begin for Florida Abolitionist Targeted at Noise Demo; State Attorney Wants to Bar Them From Referring to Prisoners as “Slaves”

In retaliation against a noise demo on December 6th, 2020 at the Florida State Prison, where cars were towed and one protestor was sent to the hospital as a result of an injury caused by a sheriff after being handcuffed, three abolitionists were targeted with trumped up charges. After a heavy solidarity campaign, two defendants moved to take a plea deal with no jail time while a third defendant now heads to trial this week.

From the Gainesville Sun:

While some news headlines called it a “prison riot,” there is no evidence of property damage charges related to the arrests. The only charges stem from a supposed trespass that occurred while people were leaving the site after being ordered to do so, and the only injury was experienced by a person already in handcuffs, accused of “resisting arrest without violence.”

And yet, people were arrested, their cars were towed and pictures of them were blasted across news headlines associating them with trumped up felony charges. They were also stuck paying unusually high bonds to gain freedom.

This was not the first time a protest occurred at this prison, as this location has seen many over the years — as a result of both state executions and chronic complaints over poor conditions and brutality of guards against prisoners inside the complex of state facilities.

In this instance, law enforcement responded by dispersing the protest and arresting people unnecessarily. As body cam evidence on record in the case indicates, this was motivated solely by enforcement’s disapproval of the content and tone of the event. Upon one demonstrator questioning the reason for the first unnecessary arrest, an officer replies, “You want to talk sh**? Come here,” then proceeded to make two additional unnecessary arrests.

This attitude indicates the arrest was about creating a “chilling effect” on free speech, not about a criminal act.

This chilling effect includes an attempt by the State Attorney to bar the remaining defendant from “making any direct or indirect mention whatsoever at trial before the juryof “[a]ny and all references, whether directly or by innuendo, regarding the confinement of State prisoners as “Prison Slavery” or “Modern Day Slavery.” Similarly, to exclude references to inmates of the Department of Corrections as “Slaves” or “Modern Day Slaves,” and to exclude references to the prison as a “Plantation” or “Modern Day Plantation.”

This week, July 20 – 21, a jury trial is scheduled at the Bradford County Courthouse for the remaining case stemming from bogus criminal charges of ‘trespassing’ and ‘resisting arrest.’ The court room is open to the public during trial, though seating is limited. Here’s how you can help!

What You Can Do to Help:


Its not too late for the State Attorney to drop these charges. Please share this video with friends and family. Continue calling with requests to drop the remaining charges:

Luis Bustamante, Division Chief Assistant State Attorney (904) 966-6208
Brian Kramer, Head State Attorney of the 8th Judicial Circuit (352) 374-3675
Scott LaPeer, Assistant State Attorney (352) 374-3670

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#SlaveryNeverEnded #floridaabolition #FreeThemAll

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