Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Press Release

ACLU-DC Applauds Jury Verdict in Inauguration Day Protestor Criminal Trials

WASHINGTON -

A jury has found all six defendants in the first criminal trial against Inauguration Day protestors in D.C. Superior Court not guilty on all counts.

Scott Michelman, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU of the District of Columbia, issued the following statement:

“Today’s verdict reaffirms two central constitutional principles of our democracy: first, that dissent is not a crime, and second, that our justice system does not permit guilt by association. We hope today’s verdict begins the important work of teaching police and prosecutors to respect the line between lawbreaking and constitutionally protected protest. We hope that the U.S. Attorney’s Office gets the message and moves quickly to drop all remaining changes against peaceful demonstrators.

“For nearly a year, these people have been under the cloud of felony charges that have turned their lives upside down, subjecting them to the anxiety and expense of defending themselves against charges that should never have been brought. No one should have to fear arrest or prosecution for coming to the nation’s capital to express opinions peacefully, no matter what those opinions may be. Through our civil lawsuit against the police, the ACLU-DC will continue to fight for demonstrators’ constitutional rights.”

The defendants had faced eight charges of rioting, property destruction, and conspiracy, with a maximum sentence of more than 60 years. More than 150 defendants face similar charges in trials that will take place next year.

In June, the ACLU-DC filed a civil lawsuit against the District of Columbia and D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department on behalf of four individuals. The ACLU-DC lawsuit charges that in response to demonstrations in the District on Inauguration Day, D.C. police carried out an unlawful mass round-up, pepper-sprayed nonviolent demonstrators, and held detainees for many hours without food, water, or access to bathrooms. The case is remains pending before the federal district court in Washington, D.C.

###

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Amid Existential Threat to Reproductive Rights, Congress Urged to Act

"It's the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and if we don't fight like hell it could very well be the last," said one campaigner, who called on U.S. lawmakers to pass the Women's Health Protection Act.

Brett Wilkins ·


Black Mississippi State Senators Stage Walkout as Critical Race Theory Ban Passed

"We cannot continue to stumble into the future backwards," said one Black senator who taught for 33 years. "That's what this bill does."

Brett Wilkins ·


Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist Thích Nhất Hạnh Dead at 95

"He inspired so many good people to dedicate themselves to working for a more just and compassionate world."

Jessica Corbett ·


Draft Order Shows Trump Considered Using Military to Seize Voting Machines

"This was part of the records that Trump was fighting to keep from the January 6th committee," one government watchdog noted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Groups Warn US Lawmakers Against Fueling 'New Cold War' With China

A policy of hostility toward Beijing, says a global justice advocate, has "become a convenient excuse for pushing a corporate, militarist agenda."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo