DOJ Wants Protesters & Reporter Convicted For 'Hiding Behind The First Amendment'

from the protect-and-defend-the-constitution dept

Employees of the federal government swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Assistant US Attorney Rizwan Qureshi must have done that as well. And, among the parts of the Constitution he’s supposed to defend is the First Amendment. But, as a lawyer for the DOJ he has a job to do — and apparently sometimes that job includes making batshit insane arguments to try to throw protesters and a reporter in jail against their basic First Amendment rights to assemble and to report. This is the case against six people who were singled out and prosecuted, among hundreds of people arrested during protests around Donald Trump’s inauguration. We wrote about it last month, mainly focusing on one defendant Alexi Wood, a journalist who was filming/live-streaming the protests, but still got arrested and prosecuted.

Pretty much everyone should agree that protesting is legal and protected under the First Amendment. Obviously, vandalism and property destruction are not. But, the incredible thing about this case and the arguments that Qureshi made is that he didn’t even bother to claim that the six defendants participated in violence or property destruction. He just argued a form of aiding and abetting the violence and damage, just by being present, and complained that they were “hiding” behind the First Amendment. Here’s a snippet from the Washington Examiner’s report on the closing arguments:

A federal prosecutor said Thursday that jurors must convict six people arrested during President Trump?s inauguration because they ?agreed to destroy your city and now they are hiding behind the First Amendment.?


During closing arguments Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rizwan Qureshi offered no evidence that the six committed acts of violence or vandalism, or attended planning meetings for an anti-capitalism march that ended in the arrest of about 240 people in downtown Washington.

Instead, Qureshi likened the defendants to robbery get-away drivers, guilty because they helped anonymize others in a crowd.

?That?s exactly what this sea of black was, it was the getaway car,? he said.

Think about that for a second. He’s claiming they are GUILTY BECAUSE THEY HELPED ANONYMIZE OTHERS IN A CROWD.. This is pure insanity on multiple levels. First, anonymity is, by itself, protected by the First Amendment. Second, your own First Amendment rights don’t get thrown out just because prosecutors can’t find the actual perpetrators of violence in a crowd and decide to nab you instead. That’s not how it works.

The specific argument against some of the defendants was equally crazy. Two of the defendants say that they were acting as medics for the protesters. Indeed one of them, Brittne Lawson, rather than fading into the anonymous crowd in black, was wearing a white helmet with a red cross. But check out how Qureshi spun someone being there to help people who might get injured:

?Ms. Lawson was prepared for war and she was going to make it succeed,? Qureshi said, saying she planned ?to mend them and get them up on their way.?

?What do you need a medic with gauze for? I thought this was a protest,? he said. ?There?s nothing wrong with being a medic, but she was aware there was a riot going on.?

WHAT?!? Being aware that a protest might turn violent, and being interested in helping anyone who might get injured in no way makes you guilty of any of the violence. And claiming that she “was prepared for war and she was going to make it succeed”? What the hell? Does Qureshi think that Doctors Without Borders is equally responsible for war crimes for mending those injured during wars?

As for Wood, the journalist who was livestreaming, Quereshi went after him for saying “whoohoo” during the livestream:

Prosecutors condensed Wood?s footage to show his utterances of ?woohoo? during acts of vandalism and when police fired flash-bang grenades at protesters. ?That?s not journalism,? Qureshi said. ?He?s egging them on. … I know a lot of journalists who would take issue with his coverage.?

It’s true that many journalists would take issue with that kind of coverage, but one of the great things about the whole First Amendment is that doesn’t fucking matter. Just because other journalists approve or disapprove of someone’s style or coverage or opinions doesn’t shed them of their First Amendment rights. Thankfully, Wood’s lawyer pointed out that the government doesn’t get to decide what’s good journalism vs. bad journalism. That’s the very crux of the First Amendment.

And, again, it gets worse. Qureshi claims that because he, himself, was ignorant of a common term of how police round up protesters, while Wood was aware of it, it somehow proves he’s not a journalist. I only wish I was kidding.

Qureshi questioned why he would know certain terms, such as ?kettling,? which refers to a police tactic of surrounding activists. The term kettling often is used by protest-rights advocates who view it as an illegal strategy.

?How?s he a journalist and he?s talking about a ?kettle?? I didn?t know what a kettle was before this case, did you?? Qureshi said.

Qureshi apparently said the same thing about the fact that Wood knew the term “black bloc.” This is a really cynical ploy, basically trying to tell the jury that because a journalist is actually knowledgeable about protests and police, it somehow no longer makes him a journalist. Shouldn’t this actually be more evidence that he’s a journalist? That he actually researched information on the protests and protesters and knew common slang and situations?

There were many more crazy things said — you can read many more quotes at the Unicorn Riot Twitter feed — but this seems like a really, really weak case, with a really, really crazy prosecution position by the DOJ.

But, take a step back and think about what Qureshi’s arguments would mean if accepted. It would mean that merely being outside near a protest would put you at risk of serious criminal liability — just because you might incidentally help make others anonymous or hidden. That is not and cannot be the law. And you know who knows that? Assistant US Attorney Rizwan Qureshi. In an interview he gave two years ago, he talked about the importance of being “engaged in your community, no matter where it is” in order to do things like “eradicate hate” and “fight hate.” And yet, here he is, just a couple years later, trying to throw people in jail for publicly engaging with their community to try to fight hate.

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Comments on “DOJ Wants Protesters & Reporter Convicted For 'Hiding Behind The First Amendment'”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Because they are more educated about the world than I am, send them to jail!
I know what kettling is, never been to a single protest.
Sorry your protected little bubble keeps you from seeing international or national coverage.

“was prepared for war and she was going to make it succeed”
The police came dressed for a riot and they were going to make sure there was a riot.

We can’t prove any of these people did anything illegal, but I’m going to screech & harp about how they are bad people and you should put them in jail. All of the resources of our nation turned to screw a handful of people who we can’t prove did anything wrong.

Guilty because they were there.
Guilty because they made a noise.
Guilty because they cared about fellow humans.
Guilty because they know scary words I didn’t.
Guilty because our freedoms are fake.
Guilty because the keebler elf needs to keep trump from saying naughty things about him.
Guilty because I am arguing that because they did things explicitly covered by the most basic documents our country was founded on, means they are criminals.

These arguments quite honestly need to be submitted to the bar. This person is unfit to work for the top legal body in the country, making insane statements counter to actual law.

This case is all about making people fear speaking out.
Any doubts anyone could have had about that is they gave up looking for those who committed crimes & decided to charge anyone they could lay hands on & twist the facts to suit a narrative so detached from reality it should be punished.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In her closing rebuttal…

In closing rebuttal in #J20 trial Assistant US Attorney Kerkhoff (@USAO_DC) claimed that the term “reasonable doubt” “doesn’t mean a whole lot.” Judge Leibovitz interrupted her and told jurors, “I’m sure she didn’t mean to say what she just said.”

Undercutting the law & twisting it should be before a bar.
You might not like it, but poisoning a jury this way is a cheap stunt in a case based on, they wore black, they carried medical gear, she took off her out layer of clothes (lets not mention it was after being sprayed down with OC), he said woohoo as he was streaming, we didn’t mention the 9000 pages of documents we pulled form his phone & it made it clear he was there as a journalist, knowing what kettling is is criminal.

I thought the DoJ was pretty much trash before, refusing to take cases because they might not win or it would be hard. This is a new fscking depth they have plumbed.
Reasonable Doubt doesn’t mean a whole lot. DA FAQ?
Convict them because they were there, not that we can show you a single piece of evidence they did anything wrong.
Convict them because they wore black so we couldn’t find the real criminals.
Convict them for expecting the DC police to follow their guidelines.
Convict them for thinking they needed to be told to disperse.
Convict them because they were forced into an area by the police & weren’t allowed to leave like they shoudl have.
Convict them for protesting.
Convict them because I said so.

They have tons of more cases coming, these were the test balloons for how much they can screw people they have no actual evidence of committing a crime.

This isn’t justice, this is vendetta.
This isn’t justice, this is banana republic kangaroo legal system.
This isn’t justice, this is putting the fear of the state into people who might dare to exercise the freedoms they think they have.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I do enjoy posts like yours, because I can hear the scorn and moral self-righteous attitude just dripping from the edges.

Reality is slightly different.

If you go to peacefully protest, you don’t need “protective gear” You are protesting passively. These guys are not. They show up with basic body armour on, masks, dark clothing, protective head gear, and the like. They show up looking for a fight – and looking to film it.

So, are they reporting the news (as a journalist would) or are the creating the news? Are they standing back and reporting what is going on, or are they in the middle of it encouraging people to do bad things for the camera to make a “better video”?

Are they reporting on protests, or are they egging people on so they can get more views on YouFaceTwitter?

There is a point where they are no longer reporting, but causing and encouraging. Where that point is, I don’t know – but from what I saw on the video, they crossed it a long time before they even pushed record.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

That’s what some people would have you believe, and it’s no surprise that our resident bootlicker is the one implying that argument.

It’s a great tactic, actually – if there’s a peaceful protest organised, send along a few “protesters” whose job it is to incite violence. Then point at those people as a reason why the protest itself is wrong. These protests aren’t ever going to be collections of people who actually know each other IRL, they’re public to encourage participation. So, nothing to stop a few anarchists or people paid by the opposing side to start something and reflect on the cause itself.

Properly documenting everything is a good way to counteract this, so obvious the next tactic is to make the journalists themselves in the wrong for being there to begin with…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“If you go to peacefully protest, you don’t need “protective gear” “

“And peaceful protesters have never been attacked before, have they?”

The Kent State students who were murdered by the National Guard were dressed up in body armor? I do not recall that. One of them was not even participating in the protest so don’t give me that throwing rocks bullshit.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yep those kids in California who sat on the ground peacefully protesting while the fsckhead in play riot gear shot them all in the face with an OC fogger meant to be used at a greater distance surely didn’t need any gear for their peaceful protest.

Yep those bad people protesting in Ferguson who were on video telling people to not be violent, & directing a peaceful protest getting shot with tear gas & taken down by a pack of riot geared cops… yep they needed no protective gear.

Yep those occupy activists who weren’t destroying anything, protesting peacefully didn’t need any protective gear as the riot gear clad police stormed in destroying everything in their path & injuring people.

Yep those girls who were restrained by police didn’t need protection from Tony Bologna walking up and OCing them point blank, then claiming there were ninjas who appeared and disappeared which is why he OC’ed them. Despite the video showing he did it to compliant protesters who were already restrained, he got a nice paid vacation.

Yep those peaceful protesters in Oakland who went to help someone who had been shot in the head with a tear gas canister didn’t need protective gear against the cop who waited until they moved in to help the downed man before dropping a flash bang into the middle of them.

I live in reality, I’m just not in a bubble of cops always good protesting always bad.

“They show up looking for a fight”
Knowing that this alleged fight was coming, why is there not a SINGLE photo, frame of video, sketch artist rendition, of them fighting, breaking a window, punching a horse in the balls?

9000 pages pulled from the journalists phone, confirming he was there to report on it. He stood back & filmed, he didn’t order a secret ninja team to do things for his camera. He said whoohoo… this is the whoohoo exception to journalism that exists in your head?

She arrived wearing a white helmet with a red cross with medical supplies to help people, because there is actually a history of riot cops going a wee bit insane with the military weapons they have. Helping someone blinded by OC is described as she did major care & sent them back into the battlefield with weapons. Except that most people hit with OC, even with treatment, are pretty much fscked for the next few hours.

If we are going to start pretending the entire group is responsible for the actions of a few idiots, keep following that to where it touches on you. You are at a concert, someone punches someone, you all get arrested & tried for assault. You are at a sportsball game, drunken fans have a brawl, we arrest & charge EVERYONE in the stadium.

Just because I wear the Guy Fawkes avatar doesn’t mean I am part of the collective. Should I be arrested because some wannabe LIOC’d a site that I had nothing to do with?

Just because they survived the mass shooting, should we arrest them for having been there?

If your answer is yes, then you need to admit you feel protesting & having different views is what you really dislike.

The law requires we hold those responsible for their actions, not inventing a magic way to claim everyone who was there is somehow responsible for others acts.

Perhaps you might want to cast your holier than thou eye to the history of peaceful protesters in this country being the crash test dummies for Bearcats, sonic cannons, OC foggers, flash bangs, & other military gear… where they don’t give the order to disperse because they want to try out the new toys on real people & protesters are all “bad people” no one will care about.

I notice you deftly avoided the government lawyer saying reasonable doubt doesn’t mean a whole lot. So you’re perfectly okay with ignoring evidence contrary to the states narrative & just being rubber stamps for the boot of the government on people’s necks.

Sorry the scorn isn’t dripping from this post, its a fscking torrent lap dog.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

By your logic, you would have no problem with them showing up with machine guns, right? After all the EXPECT A FIGHT, RIGHT?

Reality is bad things happen. But none of it justifies showing up in full gear and running around attacking businesses and people for fun. Recording it doesn’t suddenly turn it into news instead of just a series or criminal acts.

Do you think the gas stations and businesses of Ferguson just spontaneously com busted?

Silly rabbit!

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“You really are this stupid, aren’t you?”

Paul, perhaps you just need to shut up. Seriously, you didn’t read my post, you just jumped to a conclusion you like.

I said that if it’s acceptable to show up to a protest in full protective gear, gas masks, carrying hockey sticks and baseball bats, what would be wrong with them showing up with machine guns?

At what point does showing up looking for a fight cross the line from protest and move along to rioting?

You would have a point if everyone was protesting peacefully, not in the middle of traffic, were not breaking windows and setting fire to businesses, not popping off rounds (Ferguson had plenty of all of this). If the police stand back and do nothing, the whole place will literally be burned to the ground, destroyed, and you and your ilk we go on about how the police are lazy fuckers who won’t do anything.

They can’t win.

How about you try cause and effect? If people don’t show up for a protest looking like players out of Rollerball, don’t show up armed and ready to resist like hell, don’t try to break down barricades, burn down buildings, or hurt each other… do you think that the police will just show up and start shooting them?

There are exceptional cases where things happen on both sides. I know you will gladly point at them. Then again, I can point at any of the G7/G8 meetings of the last 20 years, and the insane tactics used by AntiFa style groups who try to infiltrate security zones, and when they don’t succeed, turn around and start destroying anything in their way.

Perhaps if both sides (not just one) stepped down a bit, things would get better. But showing up looking like they want to fight and cause trouble, protesters will be met with equal if not stronger force to stop it from happening. You would bitch endlessly if the police didn’t do it, especially if it was your home or your business destroyed while police sat by and watching protesters exercising their first amendment with a lighter and gas.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“I said that if it’s acceptable to show up to a protest in full protective gear, gas masks, carrying hockey sticks and baseball bats, what would be wrong with them showing up with machine guns?”

If that’s what you said, then it’s strange that a ctrl-f on this thread shows this post as being the first time you mentioned any of those items, and the previous post of yours only mentioned helmets and dark clothing as if they were automatically incriminating, not weapons. The post you’re replying to only mentions defensive gear, as well as explaining why they would be necessary for people with no violent intentions. Whatever you pretend, defensive armour and offensive weapons are 2 very different things, and the presence of the former only confirms that protesters expect violence to be unleashed upon them, not they they will commit violence themselves.

Is this part of your usual game, where you lie about what’s been said after being called out as a bullshit artist again, to pretend you’re somehow “winning” the argument? If not, I’m afraid I can only respond to the words you actually wrote, not the ones that spun around in your head while you were coming up with your next deflection.

I will however point out that you seem, rather unsurprisingly, to be harping on emotional appeals rather than facts, and ignoring the fact that the majority of protesters are not turning up to cause any kind of violence whatsoever. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that what you have is professional agitators who turn up to these protests specifically to cause violence and discredit whatever cause the protests are trying to draw attention to. A trick you fall for, because you love it when a police state is on the rise, as evidenced by your many posts on the subject.

“At what point does showing up looking for a fight cross the line from protest and move along to rioting?”

At the point where the actions turn into a riot, which is often something triggered by overbearing authority actions. Showing up with helmets because police have a habit of beating and pepper spraying people protesting peacefully does not indicate an intention to any violence, let alone a full scale riot. Unless you think we’re living in Minority Report, you still wait for people to commit action before treating them as rioters, and there’s plenty of actions that can be taken to prevent such things before they happen, even if people do show up ready to do such things (which they usually don’t).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

You see, when people show up in slightly suspicious clothing, to MyNameHere that’s just free game for police to gun down. Hell, you don’t even need to wear clothing at all; MyNameHere believes there exists a context where a cop would be completely justified if you’re unarmed, naked, and fleeing. Maybe your spinal cord contains nerve gas or something, he has the answers, not me.

But cops showing up in full riot gear, armed weaponry are absolutely not worth fearing for some reason.

(It’s also not a surprise why MyNameHere mocks TAC – TAC’s detective work is part of the reason why John Steele and Evan Stone’s copyright enforcement efforts were stymied.)

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "Showing up with machine guns"

Funny, in open-carry states, protestors do so up with ARs.

At least they hung out outside of Brock Turner’s house locked and loaded.

The thing is, protests tend to be films, and once you’re seen discharging a firearm, your going to do a long time, or die while resisting arrest.

It’s one of the reasons Ferguson is still so awful for the police is now we have dozens of pictures of officers of the law with guns trained on crowds. There they are being undisciplined jackbooted thugs for all to see. The true colors of the police.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: I have obtained illegal knowledge

I knew what it was by reading criticism in mainstream UK press after it was used by police there, and concerns that it may have contributed to the death of an innocent man who was not part of the protest it was used in.

So, being aware of news events around the world is now considered suspicious, it seems.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: I have obtained illegal knowledge

I knew about Kettling because from looking up CS Gas and noticing Bloody Thursday in the People’s Park in Berkeley May, 1969.

The police / national guard kettled in the protesters and then dumped tear-gas on them.

Which demonstrates just how far we’ve come in recognizing the rights of Americans to protest in half a century.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Devil’s Advocate: the intellectuals don’t help themselves when they misbehave as it gives such people ammo to use against them.

The answer is not to mistrust intellectuals on principle, but to educate yourself till you can argue your point without looking like an idiot in front of people who are knowledgeable on the subject.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You think that’s bad, wait until they trot out the “ignorance of the law is no excuse” excuse.

Either you get punished for not knowing the law, or you get punished because surely only a criminal would bother to know the law!

You’re pretty much fucked if you do, fucked if you don’t. This isn’t a bug… it’s a feature.

Bob Dowling (profile) says:

The whole point

“It would mean that merely being outside near a protest would put you at risk of serious criminal liability”

This is the point. As the next few years proceed and the administraiton becomes even less popular, it needs some way to scare people from protesting.

Even if these defendents are found innocent, future potential protesters know they run a risk of having to defend themselves in court if they protest. That’s chilling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Doctors Without Borders

Now wait a minute…. do they have a legal bribery unit (lobbyists) cause if they do then no need to arrest them as long as the bribes keep coming in.
– the supreme rulers of the peons* of the USA…wait sorry no I mean “politicians”

peons*- now do you get what we mean when we say ‘trickle down’ 🙂

Aerie (profile) says:

She deserves to be prosecuted. Police didn’t deliberately target her or the protestors. Alexi Wood was arrested with the other protestors en-masse because she was with the protestors. Protestors threw rocks and other items at police and that’s when it was decided to arrest everybody and sort it out later.

I think it was smart of her to make it look like she was providing aid but news reporters and journalists have always displayed ignorance by protesting anything that involves Donald Trump.

I’m glad she was arrested. I’m glad she’s being prosecuted. When you throw in with a mob, you own what they do.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“that’s when it was decided to arrest everybody and sort it out later”

…and after sorting things out later, they’re apparently decided that she still needs to be prosecuted because of her journalistic activities. That’s not a problem for you?

“I think it was smart of her to make it look like she was providing aid but news reporters and journalists have always displayed ignorance by protesting anything that involves Donald Trump.’

Ah you’re one of those. The orange one shold not be criticised! Despite everything he’s so clearly wrong and dangerous going on, don’t dare bother the god emperor, just hope that he’ll show you mercy when your time comes. Got ya.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Alexi Wood was arrested with the other protestors en-masse because she was with the protestors. Protestors threw rocks and other items at police and that’s when it was decided to arrest everybody and sort it out later.

Some politicians have committed sexual harassment and sexual assault. Police should just arrest all of the politicians and sort it out later.

Some bankers have committed fraud and embezzled funds. Police should just arrest all of the bankers and sort it out later.

Some people who visited the Daily Stormer’s website harassed Tanya Gersh. Police should just track down and arrest anyone who visited that website and sort it out later.

I’m sure that sweeping arrests, with no proof that any particular individual who was arrested committed the crime that the group is accused of, won’t hurt any innocent people, nor violate anyone’s rights.


That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“When you throw in with a mob, you own what they do.”

So you’ve added yourself to the self-righteous judgemental bitch brigade?

There were people protesting.
There were some people who went beyond protesting.
Pretending everyone who went there is responsible for others actions is incredibly stupid.

There is not a SINGLE piece of evidence of her having done anything illegal, but you seem to think she should be treated as guilty.

I’d ask your views about African Americans but you’ve probably decided they are all bad because they are in the same group.

In closing…

Bye, Felecia.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: "When you throw in with a mob, you own what they do."

You know, I’m still peeved with the sixty-three million people who put Trump in office, thereby directly endangering the people of the United States and running over the US’ confidence in the international community.

It would be so tempting to apply your morality once we’ve had enough.

Purges are morally wrong. Purges should never be accepted by the state or by political groups as acceptable courses of action. Purges should be censured whenever they happen, even when they are conducted covertly or indirectly.

But man, sometimes one wants so bad to punch a nazi.

Anonymous Coward says:

spectating is a crime

There is indeed a widespred legal concept behind this. People who show up at a planned event where something illegal will occur (or is likely to occur) can be criminally charged, even if they were only there to watch and had absolutely no involvement with the people who comitted the illegal act.

This is the case with all kinds of illegal events, both formal and informal, whether it’s street fights, road races, or whatever else. In California, the birthplace of drag racing, attending such unauthorized street races has long been a crime throughout numerous jurisdictions. Recently, one Los Angeles City Councilman wanted to go even farther, and not just have police charge spectators, but take away their cars as well.

Similarly, people who show up in support of “black block” protests are likely well aware that storefront windows will be smashed, cars will be vandalized, and things will be set on fire, because that’s what black blocks always do.

Therefore, it makes some sense that spectators, amateur/freelance reporters, and sympathizers who show up at black block marches should be criminally charged. Not that I personally agree with that, but just in the interest of legal consistency.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: spectating is a crime

All those activities you described are unlawful activities. Protesting is not, it is legally protected. The fact that some kinds of protests usually end up becoming violent doesn’t change the fact that the protest itself is lawful and people showing up to it are not breaking the law.

So there is a difference between spectating an event you know to be illegal and spectating an event that is perfectly legal but ends up turning illegal.

All that aside, these are verified journalists reporting on events. It doesn’t matter what is going on, if journalists attend to report on it, that is fully protected under the law. The police don’t arrest journalists who attend street races to report on their activities. If for nothing else than it provides police with a wealth of information to go after the actual criminals or makes them aware of illegal activity they weren’t aware of.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: spectating is a crime

“So there is a difference between spectating an event you know to be illegal and spectating an event that is perfectly legal but ends up turning illegal.”

There can be a very fine line between the two if there are any expectations that this “perfectly legal” (and Constitutionally protected) activity will probably include some illegality by someone.

Let’s say that every Saturday night I organize a demonstration to protest the city’s ban on street racing. That satisfies the 1st Amendment, so it must be legal, right? And then if two people there were to decide to have a [illegal] drag race (as some always do) then that should have absolutely no bearing on the crowd who showed up for the 1st Amendment-protected protest and just happened to be there when the race started, right?

Or instead of drag racing, we could do the same with a cock fight, dog fight, or whatever else might get spectators arrested for attending — perhaps even watching a black masked street mob riot through downtown?

How’s that … for laundering an illegal act through the First Amendment and most everyone involved coming out squeaky clean?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: spectating is a crime

Correct, the actions of those few have ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING on the crowd as long as the crowd does not participate. As long as the stated intent is to not engage in illegal activity, then the responsibility for those actions falls squarely on the ones engaging in it. The crowd in attendance can be assumed to have been there for the protest only.

Or do you think that illegal drug sales at a county fair means or concert means that all attendees should be arrested as well, even if they didn’t purchase any drugs?

There is no fine line. If you show up to an event whose stated intent contains no illegal activity, then only those who engage in said illegal activity while at the event can be charged/arrested. Everyone else is innocent.

By your logic, anyone who witnesses a murder, because technically they were attending the event of the murder, should be charged as an accomplice.

Aerie (profile) says:

What is the matter with you people.

First, the protesters on trial aren’t being charged with any specific crime but rather being charged as a group who attended the protest. They are charged with: conspiracy to riot, inciting a riot, and destruction of property. I agree with the one commentor above “spectating is a crime”.

Second, in the world everyone else lives in, Antifa isn’t a violent group and that the KKK should be classified as a Civil Rights organization and educational group. Get over yourself.

Fact is, when these protestors started attacking police officers, and destroying private property, they crossed the line and that police then had the right to arrest anyone and everyone who they thought participated in the destruction and riot. Police officers aren’t lawyers so they aren’t required to know every law on the books.

If an officer believes his life is in danger then I support his or her right to defend themselves by pepper spraying, shooting or arresting any individual or individuals involved in the violence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What is the matter with you people.

I’ll tell you what’s the matter with me, since you asked and all. Having to deal with simple minded fools like yourself.

Fact is, when these protestors started attacking police officers

Funny that you missed this: During closing arguments Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rizwan Qureshi offered no evidence that the six committed acts of violence or vandalism

So spare me the "oh, those poor poor police" bullshit. To quote the big orange retard himself: They knew what they signed up for.

Police officers aren’t lawyers so they aren’t required to know every law on the books.

Yet the populace is expected to. Another cop apologist who essentially is arguing the police are such simple minded dipshits that critical thinking can’t possibly be a part of their job. They’re really just too stupid.

So what’s the matter? Piss-poor standards from people like you. Just because you can’t do any better doesn’t mean the rest of us are as ignorant.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re:

I agree with the one commentor above "spectating is a crime".

What crime, specifically, are you citing?

Second, in the world everyone else lives in, Antifa isn’t a violent group and that the KKK should be classified as a Civil Rights organization and educational group. Get over yourself.

Boy, I can’t even parse this sentence. Are you saying you believe those things, or are you erecting a strawman saying everybody else but you believes those things?

Fact is, when these protestors started attacking police officers, and destroying private property, they crossed the line and that police then had the right to arrest anyone and everyone who they thought participated in the destruction and riot.

That depends on what their reason for believing that is.

Police officers aren’t lawyers so they aren’t required to know every law on the books.

The First Amendment is kind of an important one, though.

If an officer believes his life is in danger then I support his or her right to defend themselves by pepper spraying, shooting or arresting any individual or individuals involved in the violence.

That depends on what their reason for believing that is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Spectating is not a crime, otherwise we’d be arresting every eyewitness to a murder and charging them as accomplices.

Are you seriously suggesting the KKK is a peaceable Civil Rights and educational group? You do know that they are responsible for the murders and lynchings of non-whites throughout America’s history right?

Yes, when those specific protesters started attacking officers and destroying property, they crossed the line and should have been arrested. That does not extend to anyone around them who did not participate.

It’s fine for the police to contain the situation, then make hard arrests but that’s not the case here. There is video evidence proving that some of these people did not participate in any illegal activity, yet they continue to be charged for merely being a journalist and being present. You’ll note that they aren’t charging every single member of the crowd that was present at the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

When were the journalists conspiring?
When were the journalists rioting?
When were the journalists attacking anyone?
When were the journalists destroying private property?

Being a spectator is not a crime, perhaps you could enlighten us with a reference of some sort.

Your one sided world view is a big part of the world’s problems. I doubt much of anything will change soon, too many people with rectal/cranial inversion syndrome.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Care to clarify what exactly it is that you think I don’t understand?

If you watched the live stream of Woods then you’ll know he did a lot more than just say ‘woohoo’ like TD has falsely claimed…

The guy was CLEARLY egging violent Communists on and at one point tried to coax them into attacking someone. That’s not journalism, that’s some idiot filming himself inciting others to riot which is why he’s getting fked by the long dick of the law.

Anyone who supports these Communist terrorists are no better than those who defend Fascists. But apparently the far left has rebranded progressive socialism as liberalism if they’re supporting communists who are just as evil if not more evil than Fascists given the fact that they’re responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths over the course of the last century.

Would you support someone egging someone on to kill another human being? I think not, unless you’re a radical ideologue.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I’m not offended, I’m just trying to tell you that you’re using the English language wrongly.

But, again, you’d rather call names than address facts, so beat up on that strawman instead of educating yourself. As long as you can call me a name and assign me a “team”, you can reject facts and pretend you “won”, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

You have yet to refute me with any ‘facts’ …admit it, you don’t care about the facts and would rather use violence to get your point across… Fascists and Communists are neo-marxist, they both believe in radical change through violent revolution. TD apparently supports this given the fact that theyre defending radicals just like yourself by twisting the narrative.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

I’ve said exactly one thing – that the definitions of the words you’re using do not match with what they actually mean. From this, you’ve spun everything from me being a radical political activist to knowing my political views to whining about being attacked.

You’re attacking hallucinations, while ignoring my actual points. In fact, you’ve just added a bunch of other words you clearly don’t understand in your paranoid raving. Seek help, or at least an education.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You are a basket case, but please, make a record for us all why progressive socialism rots minds and turns people into morons who are incapable of arguing their way out of a wet paper bag without Meaningless AND fallacious attacks that prove nothing but sheer ideologically driven ignorance. Scum like yourself is the reason we’re so divided.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“Meaningless AND fallacious attacks”

…and where, pray did those attacks take place? Not in this thread, unless supplying you with factual information is now some kind of attack, in which case there’s really no hope for you if you’re that scared of reality.

“Scum like yourself is the reason we’re so divided.”

Priceless. You’re the only one launching personal attacks, and you’re the only one participating in the moronic pastime of treating politics like a team sport. You haven’t even bothered to get a single fact about my political views before you started with the name calling.

Look in a mirror, the real problem will be looking back at you.

Chuck says:

Convict the State Department

Wasn’t there a whole program setup by the State Department during the Arab Spring where they’d give protestors cell phones with encrypted messaging apps so that they could communicate anonymously?

So why not prosecute the State Department? Doesn’t that fall under “guilty because they helped anonymize others in a crowd” or am I missing something? I mean, the same people we helped there turned right around and had some pretty damn violent riots. Sure, tame by typical middle eastern standards, but violent anyway.

How is this not EXACTLY the same thing?

Anonymous Coward says:

The arrest on the nurse/doctor bothers me the most. Even in real war the rules state you don’t mess with the medical personnel while they are performing their duties. She probably wouldn’t have just treated the protesters but ANY who got injured. In other words arresting her made life worse for both the police and the protesters. I want to know where he gets off violating this basic tenant of decency?

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