Flash, March 17: Second mistrial declared!

New Evidence of Police Plotting vs. Movement Against Fascism

The #Freeway9 Are Back in Court—AGAIN!—Facing Years in Jail for Sounding the Alarm on the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime

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Flash: In the second trial of two of the #Freeway9, Alex and Chantelle, the jury was deadlocked on all six charges, and on Monday, March 16, the judge declared a mistrial—again! When is enough enough! Call LA City Attorney Mike Feuer to demand the charges be dropped: 213.978.8100 or tweet @Mike_Feuer.

An outrageous case of political persecution is going on right now in Los Angeles, against five of the #Freeway9—members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club who were part of courageous actions in 2017 aimed at sounding the alarm on the Trump/Pence fascist regime. These protesters blocked morning rush hour traffic on the 101 Freeway—twice—with a 50-foot banner declaring “Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.” These actions were just and inspiring, and the #Freeway9 should be thanked and celebrated—but instead they have been subjected to prosecutorial persecution, now for the second time, and are facing up to three years in jail.

For almost two and a half years now, the LAPD and the Democratic LA City Attorney’s office has targeted, spied on, and prosecuted these heroes. Right now there are two cases resulting from the 101 Freeway actions going to trial. The two defendants in one of the cases, Alex and Chantelle, already went through a trial last year, which resulted in a mistrial, and they are being tried again. The trial of three other defendants in the second case, facing the same charges, is also coming up this month.

Prosecutors Fail to Convict in First Trial—Yet Vengeful Prosecution Continues in New Trial

The defendants in the trial last year fought to bring out the political stakes of the trial. Their supporters, who filled the courtroom at key times in the trial, wore shirts stating things like “Would you have convicted Rosa Parks?”; “Trump = American Hitler”; and “Children in Cages: Which Side Are You On?” Chantelle and Alex got on the witness stand and, defying the prosecutors’ attempts to silence and limit their message, talked about why they got on the freeway to disrupt business as usual. They also published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, “The LAPD spied on our group. Here’s why we shut down the 101 Freeway,” reaching millions. The trial ended in a hung jury, with 9 of the 12 jurors voting for acquittal. This was an important victory—and the charges against all the #Freeway9 should have been dropped right then and there. But instead, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer is moving ahead with trials on these unjust charges.

One of the #Freeway9 defendants put it this way: “Who are the real criminals here? We just watched the real criminals in the White House get off the hook with a sham trial—where evidence was suppressed and truth meant nothing. These criminals have done horrendous things to immigrants, children, women, and LGBTQ people and in their wars around the world. And here we are, the people who have stood up against this, and we are being criminalized and dragged through the court for two and a half years by a Democrat city attorney, Mike Feuer—who by his actions is collaborating with these fascists. Imagine the horrors that could have been prevented if people had answered our call in 2017. Instead of being celebrated for our foresight and courage, we’ve been harassed and targeted by the LAPD, targeted for unconstitutional surveillance and dragged through endless court dates! Everyone has to ask themselves, which side are you on? Free the Freeway9! Drop the charges!”

More Spills Out on How a Pig Informant Tried to Set Up the Protesters

The #Freeway9 case broke into national news last year when the LA Times and the Guardian reported that the LAPD had sent a “confidential informant” (i.e., a spy) from the Anti-Terrorism Division into Refuse Fascism meetings at a church, within days of the nonviolent protest actions on the freeway. In response to the exposure of this spying, the LAPD said they would conduct an “investigation.” At a police commission meeting, the LAPD chief announced the result of the “investigation”—that their spying was legal and needed no “independent oversight” because this was an investigation into “criminal” activity and not political surveillance. The chief pig gave a completely false narrative of unsubstantiated charges of “criminal” activity in a whole different part of the state, with no proof offered. In other words, the political spying was perfectly OK... “because we say so!”

More recently, during the pretrial process for the new trial, portions of audio recordings of the LAPD confidential informant at the Refuse Fascism meetings came to light. One of the defense attorneys reported in open court that in the audio, the spy can be heard repeatedly trying to entrap Refuse Fascism. In the first meeting he spied on, in a discussion about white supremacists, the spy said, “You can give me a gun any day, I’ll shoot them.” And further, the attorney said, “Somebody at the meeting immediately responded, ‘This is not what we are about.’” In addition, this attorney reported that at the same meeting, when one attendee said that “there are millions of people who voted for Trump and we have to reckon with that,” the LAPD spy can be heard on the audio saying, “No, we have to wreck that”—once again trying to incite violence. In each instance, Refuse Fascism members can be heard on the audio clearly saying that what the spy was trying to stir up was not what Refuse Fascism is about, that it’s calling for mass nonviolent protest. The point the defense attorney was making was that this informant was not just coming in to get information about possible crimes being planned, but was engaging in attempts to incite and entrap others in major illegal activity, acting as an agent provocateur.

Repressing Political Speech to Speed a Fascist Railroad

The judges in both remaining #Freeway9 cases have already denied motions arguing that the charges should be dismissed because this is a case of selective prosecution—in other words, political persecution. This is despite evidence presented supporting the defense case that the prosecution handled the #Freeway9 defendants differently than in other cases involving blocking of freeways, and that this was due to the political views they hold.

In the retrial of Alex and Chantelle, the prosecution has filed an outrageous motion, asking the judge to ban the use of the words “Trump,” “fascism,” and the “First Amendment” in court (including in the testimony of witnesses for the defense); to ban all signs, banners, T-shirts, and leaflets; and to ban anybody from talking about “social injustices” within 50 yards of the courthouse! The defense has argued that this move by the prosecution is a completely outrageous attempt to muzzle the defendants from giving their defense.

In the latest hearing, on Friday, March 6, one of the #Freeway9 lawyers raised these questions: “What is the role that the state plays when the people exercise their rights to dissent against the government?” and “How did the police respond to Refuse Fascism’s nonviolent action blocking the freeway?” This kind of police surveillance—authorized at the highest levels of the LAPD—“is detrimental to a civil society, including the right to conduct peaceful political protests and nonviolent civil disobedience.” The lawyer pointed to what has come out about the LAPD not only spying on Refuse Fascism but trying to incite violent activity—and then connected this up with the history of how the U.S. government has surveilled, imprisoned, and outright assassinated many political activists and leaders.

The prosecution had the gall to claim that the LAPD’s spying and entrapment operation was not a big deal—because they didn’t find what they were looking for! The #Freeway9 lawyers countered that police carrying out these kinds of operations has larger and very harmful effects on society. If people get involved in nonviolent protests, will they be spied on, targeted as “terrorists,” and be set up to be tried in court? Will it put a chill on dissent and silence voices who otherwise would have come forward to call out the crimes of their government? Will First Amendment activity be criminalized?

YOU Are Urgently Needed to Support These Defendants

There are big questions involved in the political persecution of the #Freeway9. What kind of example will be set if those who are standing up against the crimes of this government are allowed to be railroaded into prison? What will be the consequences for humanity if the mass protests that are so urgently needed at this time are criminalized? How much further will the expansion of police powers go, with American Nazis in the driver’s seat, if the people do not draw the line right here, right now?


See the full film, excerpts and Q&A of this film

Who Is the LAPD’s Major Crimes Division, aka Anti-Terrorist Division?

A police report connected with the Freeway 9 case reveals the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD sent in a confidential informant to meetings of Refuse Fascism to “gather intelligence” and illegally record conversations unbeknownst to those the informant talked with. The Major Crimes Division is part of the Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau of the LAPD.

There is a long, sordid—and murderous—history of the LAPD illegally spying on a vast range of progressive, radical and revolutionary individuals and organizations which began in the 1950s. At the time, this was part of the U.S. government’s response to the political support and influence of the Soviet Union. For decades since then, the LAPD has illegally spied on, infiltrated and attempted to disrupt such groups involved in constitutionally protected political activity. In 1970, the LAPD established the Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID). It was revealed that PDID operatives posed as student members of “radical groups” including Students for a Democratic Society at UCLA as well as such groups as the United Farm Workers. Some time later, it was exposed that the PDID had over 55,000 intelligence dossiers on not only radical groups, but tens of thousands of people, from Hollywood notables to journalists, and that these records were shared with right-wing organizations. In exposing the illegal operations of the PDID, the ACLU uncovered undercover cops who admitted to illegally spying on political organizations, including the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP).

Here is one deadly result of one of PDID’s illegal operations: In 1980, the revolutionary communist Damián García along with two other revolutionaries raised the red flag over the Alamo in Texas, denouncing it as a symbol of U.S. imperialist conquest and domination. Twenty days later, Damián was murdered in an East LA housing project while carrying out revolutionary work, building for May Day 1980, by someone who declared “you hate the government, I am the government, your flag is red, mine is red, white and blue.” This same person was himself mysteriously murdered, which may have been a cover-up itself. It was later exposed that at the time of Damián’s assassination, an undercover LAPD cop was standing 5 feet away from Damián. This same pig had written internal LAPD reports identifying Damián as his assigned “target” based on Damián’s political affiliation with the RCP.

In 1983, in light of the revelations of the LAPD’s illegal spying and targeting of political organizations and individuals, it was forced to disband the PDID and a new division, the Anti-Terrorist Division (ATD) was created. But the ATD incorporated key functions of PDID in addition to stepped up surveillance, especially electronic spying. While he was chief of the LAPD, the notorious Darryl Gates ran an international political spying operation. In 1992, the RCP led a political battle to shut down a secret INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service, the forerunner of ICE) concentration camp in Pico-Union, a heavily populated Central American neighborhood. The LAPD viciously attacked and arrested 21 people during a series of protests. During the prosecution of these 21 protesters, the charges were dropped when the LAPD refused to turn over the names of all ATD officers who may have been present during the demonstrations as well as any documents related to ATD planning in advance of the protests. The ATD is now named the Major Crimes Division, the division which admits to the illegal political police spying on Refuse Fascism in relationship to the Freeway 9.




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