Dead City Legal Posse
The Dead City Legal Posse is a collective of activists and legal support workers in D.C.
(we are not lawyers and nothing on this site should be construed as legal advice)
During the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017, thousands of activists, journalists, and legal observers descended into the streets of Washington, D.C., to participate in, document, and support the protests and direct actions that erupted all over the city. On that day, more than 200 of those same activists, journalists, and legal observers were indiscriminately kettled on a corner in downtown DC. Some were held there for nearly 11 hours without food, water, or access to a bathroom, before being arrested and charged with felony rioting, which carries up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
On the day of the inauguration, the police recklessly and without warning deployed non-lethal chemical weapons and flash bang grenades on women, children, the elderly, members of the press, and activists alike, thereby breaking with over a decade of law enforcement protocol when dealing with First Amendment activity. Hundreds of people face life-changing felony charges for showing up to a protest. This is unprecedented.
Prior to this mass arrest, the police in D.C. generally respected the Standard Operating Procedures for Handling First Amendment Assemblies and Mass Demonstrations, which took effect in 2006. However, the inauguration of Donald Trump has ushered in a new era of violent, inhumane policing that valorizes displays of force against those who exercise their First Amendment rights, whether in D.C. or across the country. In the wake of these felony riot act charges, numerous other cities have attempted to pass statutes that would criminalize First Amendment activity. We will not stand for this.
This attempt to terrorize, punish, and criminalize activists who engage in protest and direct action is unacceptable and unconstitutional. The Dead City Legal Posse has formed specifically in response to the needs on the ground for the people defending themselves against these trumped-up charges. Subsequent government attempts to silence dissent, whether in the streets or the media, have painted a bigger picture of the erosion of our civil rights in the Trump Era. We will not let our civil rights disappear without a fight.
We stand in vehement opposition both to these broad assaults on our rights and the specific trumped-up charges arbitrarily foisted on hundreds of activists, journalists, and legal observers. We stand united in our support for our comrades in this struggle.