Update on the ACAC 19 after the settlement hearing on 10/04/2013:

At noon the crowd began to gather at the steps of 850 Bryant St. Signs were made and held up with slogans proclaiming solidarity, demanding that the DA drop charges, and of course some had a few choice words for the police and the justice system. The support the ACAC 19 banner was held up on the courthouse wall which pronounced what we all know, “NO JUSTICE HERE”.

Laleh, of the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee, spoke to the crowd. She talked about the difficulty but the absolute necessity of sustained anti-repression efforts in political cases like this one. She highlighted the punishments that the ACAC 19 has already had to endure. Brutal beatings in the street that left comrades bloodied and bruised with long term injuries. SFPD booked them on several felony charges along with conspiracy which made their bails as high as $51,000, required them to submit to DNA collection and allowed the gang task force to become integrally involved in the case. Laleh said, “We all need to be very aware of the significance of this.” This all was followed by a mass media smear campaign which led to vigilante threats against some defendants.  Some of the ACAC 19 have been harassed by police in the last year. As if physical attacks, media attacks, police harassment, and the loss of tens of thousands of dollars to bail, legal fees and lost wages weren’t enough, the whole time the ACAC 19 have been dragged through the courts and tried for the crime of protesting colonization and capitalism on a very busy (aka high revenue) day in San Francisco. Laleh reminds us that this is the kind of repression that we should expect from the state and we need to be prepared to support our comrades in the face of this repression. It could be any one of us who is politically active. Finally, Laleh ended on a personal note, “We know these 19 people. We have worked with them. We have been through struggles with them. Whatever animosities may exist amongst some of us, we have a deep and profound love for our comrades. We are going to flood this courtroom and let them know that we will flood it every day of a trial and not let them take our comrades easily.”

Next NLG lawyer Dan Siegel addressed the crowd. He started with a Lenny Bruce joke, “‘The only justice in the Halls of Justice is in the halls.’ or in this case, out here on the sidewalk.” Dan then encouraged the crowd to consider the courtroom a political battleground, place in which to profess and argue the politics, and the actions based on them, that got you into that courtroom. He said that it was encouraging to see so many people come out to support. He reminded us that it is going to take so much more to make real changes in society. Our ability to sustain long fights is an asset that we need to foster. “If I were here to give legal advice, it would be that the DA should have two choices: drop the charges or let’s fight this out in trial.”

At the end of the rally about half of the crowd flooded into 850 Bryant making sure to allow plenty of time so that the slowdown tactics previously employed by the deputies wouldn’t hinder everyone from getting to the courtroom on time. One person reported seeing ADA Laura Claster being escorted by what appeared to be bodyguards. After waiting in the hallway for the courtroom to open, a bailiff came out to announce the rules in the courtroom and let everyone in. Attorneys immediately went into the judge’s chambers while defendants and supporters waited patiently for about an hour while 20 lawyers tried to come to an agreement on terms for a settlement. At one point, someone in the crowd tried to take a drink of some juice. The bailiff shouted, “No eating or drinking in the courtroom!” The person countered, “except for you?” referring to the bailiff’s coffee. Another bailiff then puffed out his chest, pointed at the person who dared talk back then pointed to the door, “Come on, let’s go.” Several people followed to see that the bailiff didn’t get rough. This person was thrown out and not allowed back.

The attorneys finally came out and gestured to their clients and each went off in pairs to discuss the results of their discussion. Then the defendants all got together at the end of the hall and talked it over for about a half hour. Apparently, not satisfied with the offer, they sent their attorneys back into chambers. Everyone waited for another long stretch and the attorneys came out again and the last process was repeated. This time, after a long discussion, the ACAC 19 decided to accept the offer.

The offer was a Deferred Entry of Judgment. They each had to enter a plea of “no contest” to the misdemeanor charge of “unlawful assembly”. The judge accepted the plea but did not enter a conviction or impose sentencing. The court will not do this for up to one year. Each defendant was ordered to appear at the Diversion Office where they would be instructed on how to complete 20 hours of community service and pay $750 dollars in restitution. As soon as each defendant is able to complete the required hours and pay the restitution, their attorney can appear in court and their case will be dismissed. In the end there will be no conviction but a dismissal instead. If any of the ACAC 19 are charged with another crime in the meantime, they will have to appear before Judge Collins to determine if they have violated the terms of the deferral.  The judge ordered that all information collected form the cell phones by the gang task force be destroyed and ruled that the phones should be returned (though they probably shouldn’t be used by anyone who is politically active).

As difficult as it is to see comrades pleading “no contest” to the state’s bullshit charges and having these punishments imposed upon them, it is relieving to know that it is nearly over after all that these 19 have been through. In the end, trial was likely to have been more punitive than the terms of this settlement. Hopefully, their community service hours can be doing things that they already do. Community service is a natural part of being an active anti-capitalist. We just have differing ideas about what that means sometimes. The difficult part is raising the funds to make sure that all 19 are completely done with this nightmare as soon as possible. The ACAC 19 need support in this. There are plans in the works for fundraising and you can donate online here. Let’s get this over with.

https://supporttheacac19.wordpress.com/donate/

Your support is needed, all out for a critical day for the ACAC 19!

 

All 19 defendants have been ordered to appear at a “settlement hearing” on Friday, October 4 at 850 Bryant St., Department 23. Rally at noon on the steps and fill the courtroom for the hearing immediately following. This will be a key moment where the case could be settled – let’s pack the court and pressure the Judge and the DA to drop the charges!

 

At the settlement hearing a judge will try to negotiate a deal between the DA and the defendants. The judge will likely call all attorneys into chambers and try to convince both sides to come to an agreement that will avoid trial. Sometimes that means convincing the defense attorneys to try to sell their clients on a deal because the judge thinks that they may be convicted at trial. In this case, however, it could be more likely that the judge will tell the DA what we already know; the DA doesn’t have a case. The state may also be influenced to capitulate in order to avoid trial when they see the amount of support that the ACAC 19 has and get a taste of what trial will be like. It would be great if the last thing that the Judge and the DA see before they go into chambers was a courtroom overflowing with support for these comrades.

 

Please, join the support committee and the ACAC 19 at a rally at noon on the steps of the courthouse at the end of which, we will fill that courtroom with solidarity !

All of the ACAC 19 have been ordered to appear, for the first time since arraignment, on October 4 at 1:30pm for a “settlement hearing”.

The hearing began at 9am and surprisingly ended after just over thirty minutes. There were no motions heard. Some attorneys raised a desire to postpone the trial date, which is currently set for October 24. The judge seemed disinclined to granting. Some possible venues were raised as possible locations for trial, none was chosen.
One attorney raised the issue of bail. Bail has to be reposted after one year, just a few weeks after this hearing. At this time, the bail bond company will want another payment in order to repost. Some of the ACAC 19 were bailed because people on the outside saw them beaten badly and feared for their well-being in jail. This cost friends, family and comrades thousands of dollars already. Now, if the judge does not release them on their own recognizance, they would have to pay more or face re-incarceration. The ADA refused to agree to that condition at this point. A judge will be hearing any arguments on this matter on October 1. We expect that it is too far a reach for the court to refuse this request since the ACAC 19 have all been to every ordered appearance, have participated in their defense and obviously have no intention of being scared away by the state’s ludicrous attempt to prosecute them.
The most important development is that the court ordered all 19 defendants to appear for a “settlement hearing” on October 4 at 1:30pm, two days before the one year anniversary of the arrest. A settlement hearing is a specifically called so that the judge can try to mediate a deal between the DA and the defendants. The Judge at this hearing will be Judge Collins, who has not yet overseen any of the ACAC 19 proceedings. The judge will likely call all 19 defense attorneys and the ADA team into chambers. What the Judge says to the attorneys behind closed doors is anybody’s guess. He may attempt to persuade the ADA to present a new plea offer. He may attempt to push the defense attorneys to sell the most recent plea offer. Due to the nature of this hearing, it will be incredibly important to have a mass showing at court on this day to accompany the 19 defendants to court. The judge and the ADA need to be reminded immediately before going into chambers that we know that this is a political prosecution that will not be easy, quiet, or go unanswered.
Please, continue to check the website, https://supporttheacac19.wordpress.com/ to find out more about the October 4 hearing.

Come pack the court on September 10 as pretrial begins for the ACAC 19!  The ACAC 19 are comrades who were arrested at an anti-colonial, anti-capitalist demonstration on Columbus day weekend last year.  This is the last chance to pressure the DA to drop charges before trial.  Pack the court from 9am – 4pm.  Rally in front of the courthouse at noon.  Bring signs, court allowable attire and solidarity!  Even though a year has passed, comrades are still facing a slew of charges and it appears that the DA is intent on bringing them to trial.  The state would like nothing more than to quietly convict and punish opponents of its colonial, capitalist rule.  Don’t let them!  The ACAC 19 need your support.

As the ACAC 19 prepare for trial, keep an eye out for updates, articles, and actions opposing and confronting capitalism, colonialism, all forms of oppression and the political repression that comes with these fights.

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This week motions to suppress evidence were granted to 3 of the 19 defendants of the ACAC 19.  This means that evidence that was gathered from their persons on the day of the arrest, October 6th, 2012, cannot be used against them in court.  It also means that anything found on the other defendants, including information from their cellphones can be used as evidence.  The defendants are all standing strong together and recognize this as a tactic to divide them.  The ACAC 19 stand in solidarity with one another with the knowledge that they are all being targeted for their politics and not for anything that did or did not happen on October 6th.  The fact that the District Attorney still plans to charge all 19 defendants even without sufficient evidence shows the political nature of this case.  The defendants will not be divided, no matter what underhanded tactics the DA uses!!.

The ACAC 19 will be in court for a pretrial hearing on September 10th. Check the blog for updates on the status of the case as it moves to trial.

The ACAC19 Support Committee encourages all forms of solidarity and support, including calling, emailing, and faxing the District Attorney to pressure him to drop all charges.

 

The main phone number for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office is (415) 553-1751.

When calling we suggest something like the following script:


“Hi my name is _______________________ and I am calling in support of 19 anti-colonial anti-capitalists arrested during a protest march on Saturday October 6th. I demand all charges be dropped immediately and an end to the harassment of the ACAC 19 by the San Francisco Police Department and District Attorney George Gascón.

Below you will find a fax petition demanding that the San Francisco District Attorney drop all charges against the ACAC 19. To join the effort, please follow these simple steps:

1) Go to http://faxzero.com/ .

2) Fill out the form with your name and email address under Sender information.

3) Fill out George Gascón under Receiver Name and (415) 575-8815 for the Receiver Fax Line.

4) Copy the text at the bottom of this email into the box that says “Type text to appear on the cover page”. Personalize the text in the box to include your name and also anything else you would like to say.

5) Enter the confirmation code

6) Click the Send Free Fax Now button at the bottom of the box.

7) Check your email and click on the confirmation link. Clicking on this link will actually send your fax.

8) Wait for the email that confirms that your fax has been sent.

9) Please send the ACAC 19 Support Committee a message to supporttheacac19@riseup.net to let us know that you sent the message, and what response you received when you called.

Fax message:

Drop All Charges Against the ACAC 19

(Fax Petition)

To: George Gascón

District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Fax Line : (415) 575-8815

District Attorney George Gascón:

I am writing in support of 19 anti-colonial anti-capitalists arrested during a protest march on Saturday October 6th. I demand all charges be dropped immediately and an end to the harassment of the ACAC 19 by the San Francisco Police Department and District Attorney George Gascón.

Signed,

__________________________________

This petition can also be emailed to these email addresses:

george.gascon@sfgov.org

laura.claster@sfgov.org

Gather on the SF court house steps this Friday at Noon to support the ACAC 19! Our comrades will be in court for what will likely be the pivotal pretrial day that could be the final before a trial date is set. Please join the ACAC 19 support committee in an anti-repression rally and speakout over the Friday lunch hour and show your solidarity with our comrades.

Friday March 29, 12:00-1:00PM
850 Bryant St. San Francisco

ACAC_Mar29This will be an important day in court for the Anti-colonial, Anti-capitalist (ACAC) 19 and those comrades who are interested in observing and listening to the full day of pretrial hearings put forth by their attorneys are encouraged to do so. However, the ACAC 19 support committee is not calling for comrades to pack the court for this specific date. Many thanks to all who made last month’s court date an impressive display of solidarity. Let’s return to the steps of the court house in even greater numbers this Friday at lunch and make sure the judge, the DA and the cops know that we have our comrade’s backs and that they are far from alone in their struggle against colonialism, capitalism and the state.

Bring banners, signs, buttons and more. Solidarity is our weapon against the state! Our love for our comrades is stronger than their cages and their courts!

Fax/Call the DA: For those unable to make the Friday rally & speakout, we encourage you to flood the phone and fax machine of the SF district attorney’s office throughout this week demanding they immediately drop all charges against the ACAC 19 and end their campaign of repression. Please see this previous guide for calling and faxing suggestions.

Background: The ACAC 19 is a group of anti-colonial, anti-capitalists who were beaten, arrested and then subjected to a media smear campaign by the San Francisco Police Department on October 6, 2012. The arrests occurred during a series of demonstrations on Columbus Day weekend against colonization and empire, as well as the racist celebrations of genocide and conquest. The actions were organized in solidarity with indigenous struggles in the Bay Area and beyond and to mark the eleven-year anniversary of the Afghanistan war and occupation. The police and DA have worked to make an example out of the ACAC 19, issuing sloppy and accusatory press releases, confiscating their cell phones, bringing the gang task force into the investigation, subpoenaing twitter accounts, and harassing individual members of the 19 since their brutal arrests. In the wake of rebellious and militant political activity across the country, we see this as one of many attempts to control, intimidate, and silence radical movements.

The ACAC 19 are currently facing multiple misdemeanor charges ranging from unlawful assembly to battery on a uniformed officer.

For more information on the ACAC 19 please visit the support committee’s blog at: https://supporttheacac19.wordpress.com

The ACAC19 Support Committee would like to announce our solidarity with Joel Bitar, recently arrested in New York City and extradited to Toronto.

From SupportJoel.com: “On Thursday, February 14th, at 6 o’clock in the morning, federal marshals arrested an American activist, Joel Bitar, in his New York, NY home on a provisional arrest warrant issued by the US Attorney’s office, acting on a foreign extradition request from Canadian authorities. The complaint against Joel cites 26 counts, almost all relating to property damage that occurred during the G20 summit protests in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in June 2010. […]”

It’s unclear what the precise motivations for his arrest are but we understand fully the common denominator among our enemies – in this case, international enemies – is to promote fear among us. We want Joel to know that he is not alone as his capture seeks to make an example of him. Moreover we reject that his arrest would disable our organizing, confidence or acts of solidarity. We hope that a viral solidarity with Joel manifests in the many forms we have observed for those struggling against repression alike such as the Grand Jury Resisters, Felicity Ryder, those of the Mapuche People’s struggle, those of Villa Amalias and Skaramanga and Luke O’Donovan to name a few.

Freedom for Joel, the ACAC19 and all others who aggressively combat domination – Inside or outside of prison walls. Until then, our unrelenting solidarity,
The ACAC19 Support Committee

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