Reportback: April 10th Day of Solidarity with #J20 Defendants

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This is a brief report back of actions/events that took place on April 10th, a day of solidarity with the remaining 59 defendants. Both April trials have been delayed by the prosecution, the next trial is set to start on May 14th.

Rights and Dissent wrote a good analysis of what the continuances mean, as well as the State dropping their “expert” witness of “anarchist extremism”:

On April 11, a week before the next J20 trial was set to start, prosecutors asked for a continuance, claiming they need time to find an expert witness. A judge granted this motion, meaning the trial scheduled to start on April 17 has been pushed back to June 4. Prosecutors have similarly asked for a continuance for the trial of protesters scheduled to start on April 26. It does not appear that prosecutors will seek a continuance for the J20 trials scheduled to being in May, as they claim no expert witness is required for them.

This is particularly jarring for a number of reasons. First, media interviews with jurors from the first trial made clear that it wasn’t a particularly close call. At least one juror indicated that they made their decision during the prosecution’s opening argument, when they freely conceded no evidence tied the defendants to property destruction. Second, the prosecution is essentially conceding that it can’t win its case as is. They can’t find an expert, which is the only way they can claim to win, even though they “have actively worked to identify and secure a qualified expert for many months.”

They try to imply that witnesses for the prosecution face a unique threat, though they’ve presented no evidence that any previous witnesses have faced anything other than public criticism. Given that many of them are involved in the policing and infiltration of First Amendment protected activity, this is to be expected. Conflating public criticism with threats serves the purpose of demonizing the defendants and their supporters. It’s also Jennifer Kerkhoff’s desperate attempt to save her reputation. Kerkhoff is facing an unmitigated disaster, as pushing forward for over a year with this case has  led to humiliating rebuke after humiliating rebuke. She’s looking for someone or something to blame for her failures. This motion should be extremely embarrassing to the prosecution.

If the prosecution can’t in “good conscience, ask another fourteen citizens” to sit through a trial of protesters, there’s a solution. Drop the charges.

Round up of solidarity events and actions:

Olympia, WA:

Long anarchist author and organizer Cindy Milstein gave a talk on the J20 case.

Riverside, CA:

Minneapolis, MN:

Solidarity rally held by General Defense Committee (GDC).

Banner was dropped and statement issued in solidarity with J20 defendants on Conflict MN stating:

“A banner went up over a 494 walk bridge during rush hour traffic on April 10, 2018, in solidarity with the fifty-nine remaining J20 defendants.”

Seattle, WA:

“Seattle held it down on April 10 with a benefit show for prison support.

Several months ago we learned that a crypto-fascist black metal band was due to play at a local venue. After sustained pressure from local and national antifascists got the show canceled, the venue decided to give us the date instead. We planned a benefit for a local jail support collective, with a solid roster of local radical hip-hop acts.

When we learned that April 10 was also a day of solidarity with J20 defendants, we wanted to make aure they got a shoutout as well. The banner for the stage read “Keep Fighting! J20 and All Prisoners.” Shoutouts were made in stage both to the local collective and J20 defendants. After the show the banner was dropped over I-5.”

Kansas City, MO:

Folks with the Kansas City IWW did a series of interviews, and spoke at an open mic to raise visibility for the case.

Asheville, NC:

A punk jeopardy J20 benefit was put on in Asheville!

Jamaica Plain, MA:

The Lucy Parsons Center held a pop-up waffle breakfast benefit.

Boston, MA:

A banner was dropped in Boston, MA.

Pete’s Mountain, West Virginia:

Tree-sitters with the ongoing blockade against the Mountain Valley Pipeline put up a new banner in solidarity with J20 defendants and issued this statement:

In our 45th day of the tree sits and our 15th day of the monopod, we stand in solidarity with all those who resist and fight back against corruption, fascism, extraction, and more.

Follow Defend J20 Resistance to learn more about the 59 people still facing multiple felony charges after being mass arrested during protests at the Inauguration.

Richmond, VA:

Richmond, VA, held a super dope firework filed demo with a video, in solidarity with J20 defendants and resistance across the globe.

Washington, DC:

Thanks to everyone who has helped support J20 defendants. Remember, the fight isn’t over, 59 defendants still face multiple face multiple felonies and decades in prison. The next trial is set to start on May 14th, with trials scheduled late into the year.

The struggle continues! You can learn more about the case, and stay updated at defendj20resistance.org.


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