Sign now to defend all protesters’ First Amendment rights

Federal Prosecutors and D.C. City Councilors

4yearsinprotest

On January 20, 2017, police arrested more than 200 people protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration, in conjunction with property damage committed by only a handful of people.

In December 2017, the first six defendants were acquitted on all charges (including felony and misdemeanor charges). And while the Justice Department has just dropped charges against another 130 of the protesters, federal prosecutors are refusing to drop the charges against 59 remaining defendants -- the vast majority of whom couldn’t have been involved in any property damage.

The aggressive prosecution of these remaining protesters smacks of politics, not the law. The Justice Department is sending a clear message that people who dissent against the policies of the Trump administration could face severe consequences.

This attempt to silence dissent is a threat to our First Amendment free speech rights.

Sign the petition calling on federal prosecutors to drop the charges against the remaining 59 protesters if there’s no evidence that any individual actually rioted or damaged property.

And call on the D.C. City Council to launch a truly independent investigation into how police were allowed to use a controversial tactic called “kettling” to indiscriminately round up and arrest over 200 protesters -- in violation of D.C. laws meant to protect First Amendment activity.

Media accounts and testimony by D.C. police suggests that they treated the entire march as an unlawful “riot,” which is why they didn’t comply with existing rules, like only rounding up protesters when they can identify specific lawbreakers. The D.C. Council needs to prevent that from happening again.

Participating organizations:
Daily Kos
PEN America
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Defending Rights & Dissent
People's Action
People Demanding Action
People For the American Way
The Zero Hour
United We Dream

To: Federal Prosecutors and D.C. City Councilors
From: [Your Name]

Peaceful protest and dissent are protected First Amendment rights. In the absence of any legal evidence that any individual actually rioted, we demand that the charges be dropped against the remaining Washington, D.C. J20 protesters.

We also call on the D.C. City Council to strengthen free speech protections for future protests and launch a truly independent investigation into how the police were allowed to indiscriminately round up and arrest en masse over 200 protesters on January 20, 2017.