Video Shows Anti-NATO Protesters Accused of “Domestic Terrorism” were Targeted by Police
Three anti-NATO protesters who were arrested during a midnight raid on Wednesday have been accused of plotting ”terrorist” attacks on Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home & four Chicago police stations. Initially Chicago police denied to acknowledge that the warrantless raid and subsequent arrests had occurred, but are now coming out swinging with minimal evidence provided by two undercover agents who also provided the materials and the motivation to organize the alleged actions.
Brian Church, 20, Jared Chase, 24, and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, have each been charged with “possession of incendiary or explosive devices, conspiracy to commit terrorism & providing material support for terrorism,” in a clear case of retaliation to the video embedded above. The three were harassed and threatened by Chicago police officers during a traffic stop last week, in which the officers threatened to hunt them down during the upcoming anti-NATO protests. During the stop, the officers can be heard making light of police brutality when one says, “billy club to the fucking skull” then revises his comment to “Okay, now we’ll beat your white ass.”
“They were driving in a car and were pulled over without any kind of justification or reason by the Chicago police department. They were surrounded by police and they were questioned for a very long period of time about what they were doing in Chicago, why they were here to protest, what their political affiliations were, how they identified politically—All kinds of absolutely outrageous questions that certainly do not indicate any kind of illegal behavior because it is not constitutional simply to accuse them of a crime because of a political belief,” a lawyer with the NLG said in a statement to the press.
Defense attorneys quickly condemned the arrests and accusations of terrorism by calling the operation a “police set up.” The defense team made light of the obvious notion that the arrests and accusations are a propaganda tool designed to scare away other protesters from descending on the city over the weekend.
“This is just propaganda to create a climate of fear,” defense attorney Michael Duetsch said.
The National Lawyers Guild also released a statement condemning the arrests.
“The National Lawyers Guild deplores the charges against Occupy activists in the strongest degree,” said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People’s Law Office. “It’s outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it’s the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest.”
“All three of these guys, interestingly, were in the car about a week ago that was stopped and harassed by the Chicago police department,” Gelsomino said. “They then posted that video online in an attempt to expose that police misconduct. Each of those three are now being charged with these crimes. That’s as much as we know.”
Two undercover police officers who went by the aliases “Mo” and “Gloves” were also arrested during the late night raid, but defense attorneys have lost contact with the duo. Police say the two undercover agents were involved in a month long investigation against the three protesters who were pulled over in the above video. According to the defense team, the undercover officers provided the four Molotov cocktails and were in fact the ones who conceived the plan, as the three accused had no intentions of carrying out the alleged actions.
“We believe this is all a setup and entrapment to the highest degree,” Duetsch said.
“We were handcuffed to a bench and our legs were shackled together. We were not told what was happening,” one of those detained but later released, Darrin Ammussek, told NBCChicago.com.
“I believe very strongly in non-violence, and if I had seen anything that even resembled any plans or anything like that, we wouldn’t have been there,” he added
The three accused protesters are scheduled to appear in bond court tomorrow at noon on California & 26th streets.
For more coverage and updates on the #NATO3 follow FireDogLake’s @kgosztola on twitter.