Local Activists Condemn Recent Police Raid, Home Ransack, and Equipment Seizure of Known Activist
Press conference will give voice to those who oppose this police repression
What: Press Conference on Raid with ResistThis and DisruptJ20 Organizers, Activist Leaders from Local DC Groups
When: 10 AM – 11 AM, Thursday April 13, 2017
Where: Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
Washington DC — Last week, Washington DC metro police unjustly raided the home of a known prominent activist involved in the protests of the inauguration of Donald Trump. On Monday, April 3, police kicked in the door of the activist’s house, came in with their guns drawn, then ransacked the home, leaving items strewn about the floor. They confiscated thousands of dollars of electronic equipment, including computers, mobile phones, sound speakers, and a smart television. Inexplicably, the police also stole flags, banners, and even artwork.
Activists are holding a press conference Thursday morning at 10 AM to wholeheartedly condemn these acts of police and state repression.
The activist whose home was raided is a core organizer with the ResistThis collective, formerly known as DisruptJ20, which organized the inaugural protests. The person was home at the time of the raid, and was detained in handcuffs while police tore apart the home, though the activist was ultimately not arrested. The person in question does not wish to give their name or identity for fear of further police reprisals. The person in question has been left without a computer or phone since their equipment was seized, and has had difficulty communicating with coworkers and colleagues since the raid took place. The activist was not among the 230 arrestees from January 20, and has been assisting with jail support for those arrested.
“This is an egregious abuse of police power. We can only assume that authorities are desperate to conjure evidence to support the heavy-handed prosecution of those facing felony riot charges on the day of the inauguration,” said David Thurston, arts organizer for DisruptJ20 and ResistThis. “The fact that this home invasion occurred more than two months after the events of January 20 should raise a red flag for all who care about privacy and protection of freedom of speech and expression.”
“We must demand that our police not be used to silence protest,” said Thurston. “Resistance to Trump’s authoritarian agenda is flourishing here in our city, and across the nation. We will not remain silent, and we will expose any and all collusion between local police and Trump’s nefarious administration.”
The Washington DC Metropolitan Police came under heavy criticism following the controversial arrest of 230 people on January 20. The 230 people had been corralled and trapped in an entryway, tear gassed while trapped by the police and unable to escape, then arrested. The arrestees were charged with felony rioting charges, but in almost all cases, virtually no evidence has been presented to make a case that any of the arrestees broke any law whatsoever.
“This is just a case of the cops trying to justify what they did on Inauguration Day,” Sam Menefee-Libey of the DC Legal Posse told Vocativ. The DCLP is a resource center for the people arrested on January 20. “They mass-arrested protesters with no evidence that they did anything and now they need to justify it.”
“It is notable that these trumped-up charges, violent crackdown, and overblown response occurred on the very first day of the Trump administration,” Menefee-Libey said. “But this violent repression is not new. Law enforcement agencies across the country have been engaged in an ongoing campaign to target, terrorize and harass communities of color in Ferguson, Baltimore, and beyond.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to fundraise to help the activist whose home was raided replace necessary equipment. The day it was set up, the GoFundMe page was taken down for unexplained reasons, causing many in the DC activist community to question the fundraising platform’s allegiance. The page was however re-installed after many DC activists had tweeted and posted to question GoFundMe’s motives.
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