The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Media -- Dont Quote Me  |  News Features  |  Stark Ravings  |  Talking Politics
Best of Boston 2009

Judge dismisses RNC protest case

Justice for protesters
By JEFF INGLIS  |  February 4, 2009

CASE DISMISSED: The Wall 7: (back row, left to right) Kate Bonner-Jackson, Sam Maron, Paul McCarrier, Tim Clifford, and Drew Wilson; (front row, left to right) Molly Adelstein and Katt Tolman.

What the Wall 7 learned in Minnesota. By Jeff Inglis.
Portlander Paul McCarrier, an activist with the Black Bird Collective and the North East Anarchist Network, Bostonians Molly Adelstein and Kate Bonner-Jackson, Drew Wilson of Worcester, and three others were among roughly 20 people arrested September 1, 2008, at the intersection of 6th and Wall Streets in St. Paul, Minnesota during the Republican National Convention. Police alleged that they had participated in a roadblock four blocks away, and charged them with unlawful assembly, impeding traffic, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of a legal process.

The defendants — who became known as the "Wall 7" — were in St. Paul during the RNC because, as Wilson puts it, "we think that our government should be held accountable for the crimes it has committed." They weren't released from jail until the last day of the convention.

Along with many of 800 others arrested (including journalists, a convention delegate, and a convention security guard), faced misdemeanor charges, 40 percent of which have since been dropped. More than 20 people — including the "RNC 8" activists who coordinated protests and protest support — face felony charges.

The Wall 7 were offered plea deals — the chance, says Bonner-Jackson, to "plead guilty to something you didn't do" — but, unlike many others, didn't take them. With legal advice and support from the National Lawyers Guild, Minnesota activists Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS) the Seven, relative strangers, demanded a collective jury trial, which was scheduled for January 20, inauguration day.

But the case was doomed because the Wall 7 and other RNC protestors had demonstrated wearing masks, helmets, and padding for both protection and anonymity — the familiar "black bloc" protest tactic. As a result, witnesses couldn't identify who had done what in the streets of St. Paul, and the judge dismissed all the charges.

"Police had no basis for the vast majority of arrests made during the RNC," said defense attorney Jordan Kushner said in a press release after the trial ended. "The judge in this case decided there wasn't even enough evidence to require the defendants to put on any evidence and allow the case to go to a jury."

Bonner-Jackson (who works with Boston's Food Not Bombs group) is "kind of disappointed" their day in court didn't include the chance to explain what they were doing, but she's "not arguing" with the ruling.

"We did nothing wrong. We went there for good reasons. We did something right," says Worcester community activist Wilson.

The Wall 7's victory is significant in that it opens the courtroom doors for other protestors who've declined plea bargains. CRASS, meanwhile, is now organizing arrestees to sue authorities for wrongful arrest and use of excessive force.

Related: Among the Republican thugs, Rolled, Wacko patrol: America's 25 scariest conservatives, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Black Bird Collective, Crime, Republican National Committee,  More more >
  • Share:
  • RSS feed Rss
  • Email this article to a friend Email
  • Print this article Print

Today's Event Picks
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   AFTER THE BATTLE  |  May 13, 2009
    Where will same-sex marriage be in 2010?
  •   DODGING SHOTS  |  May 06, 2009
  •   NAMING NAMES  |  April 08, 2009
    Press releases
  •   FOLD OR FLOAT  |  April 02, 2009
    How to save the Portland Press Herald
  •   A FEW TIPS  |  April 02, 2009
    Giving the Press Herald a fighting chance

 See all articles by: JEFF INGLIS

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group