Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel must drop ALL charges against protestors!

Allister Adel, Maricopa County Attorney; Prosecutor April Sponsel, MCAO; Prosecutor Nick Michaud, MCAO

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For years, there has been a coordinated effort between the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) and Phoenix Police Department/Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to politically target and prosecute civil rights leaders. These efforts have been particularly pronounced in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and Dion Johnson, and hundreds of demonstrators, including many well-known activists, have been targeted by this sprawling multi-agency apparatus and falsely charged with serious felonies. This is an effort to weaponize the criminal legal system to jail, intimidate, and silence activists.  

When governments use the criminal legal system illegitimately to silence, intimidate, and jail critics, it’s called political prosecution. This obscene abuse of power is exactly what we’re seeing in the third largest prosecuting office in the nation.

After immense public pressure spearheaded by Black-led and directly impacted organizing, as well as local news outlet ABC15’s investigative reporting, MCAO conceded and dropped 15 cases, but over 20 people are still facing multiple serious felonies.

Sign this petition to demand that Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel:

1) Drop ALL charges against protesters WITH prejudice (meaning they can't be brought back up again)  
2) End all political prosecutions
3) Disband the First Responders’ Bureau
4) Provide reparations for all people harmed by these political prosecutions

Here’s some of what ABC15’s investigation has uncovered about these political prosecutions:

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3538ee3c-122b-4266-8db4-7a572114e666
Phoenix, AZ

To: Allister Adel, Maricopa County Attorney; Prosecutor April Sponsel, MCAO; Prosecutor Nick Michaud, MCAO
From: [Your Name]

Between May 28, 2020 and May 30, 2020, Phoenix PD unconstitutionally arrested 354 individuals exercising their First Amendment rights. Many of these individuals were charged with felony riot, using illegal cut-and-paste probable cause statements. Those cases were thrown out, but the desire to criminalize and throw the book at protesters didn’t end there. Instead, law enforcement agencies switched their methods from mass arrests to targeting leaders.

Between June and November, Phoenix Police Department, in collaboration and coordination with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO), arrested 60 individuals, many of whom were well-known civil rights leaders, organizers, or activists. The charges against these individuals, including gang allegations, stretched the facts and the law beyond recognition or comprehension.

All of these cases against activists and demonstrators have been brought by MCAO's newly created First Responders’ Bureau, a wing of MCAO that is primarily responsible for litigating cases on behalf of cops. The prosecutor bringing these charges is April Sponsel, a gang prosecutor known for disproportionately convicting people of color, and not to mention, the wife of a DPS trooper—the same agency responsible for the murder of Dion Johnson. She’s now responsible for charging activists fighting for Black liberation and against police violence.

* * *

When governments use the criminal legal system illegitimately to silence, intimidate, and jail critics, it’s called political prosecution. This obscene abuse of power is exactly what we’re seeing in the third largest prosecuting office in the nation.

After immense public pressure spearheaded by Black-led and directly impacted organizing, as well as local news outlet ABC15’s investigative reporting, MCAO conceded and dropped 15 cases, but over 20 people are still facing multiple serious felonies.

These are our demands to Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel:

We DEMAND that MCAO drop ALL charges against protesters with prejudice (meaning they can't be brought back up again).
We DEMAND an end to all political prosecutions.
We DEMAND the disbandment of the First Responders’ Bureau.
We DEMAND reparations for all people harmed by these political prosecutions.