We just had another meeting with the NLG that was for those arrestees that are interested in fighting their charges. Different strategies were discussed to fight the charges in court. Financial issues were discussed. Potential obstacles were discussed. The general consensus from the meeting was that we want to consolidate the cases and take it to a jury. In order to make this work, the NLG is asking for the names and contact information of those that want to fight the charges against them. We need to have a estimate of the number of people that plan to participate in this for planning purposes. And of course we need everyone interested to be involved in our conversations moving forward. If you are interested in fighting the charges, please send your contact information and arrest date to email@example.com. The NLG is asking for this information by Friday 11/27, so it is imperative that we get this information soon.
Dear fellow arrestees,
Since the first arrests nearly a month ago, there has been much talk about what our options are and what our plan should be. Some people have already decided the course of action they are planning to take, others are still on the fence. There are a number of things to consider when making this decision, and each person’s decision is completely their own.
There are a number of people that have decided to fight against the charges in order to contribute to a political campaign around the right to occupy a public space in protest. In order to move forward, the Civil Liberties Defense Committee needs to be able to give the NLG the number of people interested in fighting the charges. We ask that you contact Austin McClain by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and contact the NLG at 773-309-1198, stating that you would like to use the motion dismiss and/or fight the charges. Please include your name, arrest date, additional contact information, and confirm that you would like the fight the charges. There will be a meeting in the near future with the NLG, that will be invite only, to discuss our strategy moving forward. The NLG has created a motion to dismiss on First Amendment grounds that you can take if you are interested in fighting the charges. However, if the motion is not accepted, then you must be prepared to request a trial in order to take part in this option.
For those that are unsure about whether you want to fight or not, or maybe want to take the plea option, we still encourage you to send your information to email@example.com in order to receive important updates and be aware of collective actions that people not fighting the charges can take part in.
Here is some additional information to help you make your decision:
In the early hours of October 16th and 23rd, over 300 peaceful protesters were arrested in Grant Park. They were charged with violating a Chicago Parks ordinance which designates that the park closes at 11 pm. For this violation, they were loaded into police wagons and kept overnight in a city jail — some not released until nightfall on the following day. Most were denied phone calls and food and at least two were denied access to necessary medicine.
These arrests were not in the interest of “public safety,” as the Chicago Police Department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office claim. These arrests were political. They demonstrate the mayor’s fear of dissent, his commitment to preserving the status quo and to limiting the First Amendment rights of all people to peaceably speak and assemble.
We are the 99%. We refuse, any longer, to accept the status quo. We refuse devastating cuts to libraries, schools, and public safety nets. We refuse to be the scapegoats for the financial crisis. We refuse to stand by while the poor and middle-class are kicked out of their homes, those peaceably assembled are thrown in jail, and fraudulent lenders walk free.[i] We refuse to attach ourselves to systems of government and finance we know to be corrupt and instead, choose to align ourselves with a vision for a better tomorrow.
We refuse to just pack up and go home. Our First Amendment rights do not end at 11 pm.
Support our demand that the city of Chicago drop the charges brought against those arrested in Grant Park and end its ridiculous campaign to limit free speech. Cuts of public services are imminent. Would continuing with these proceedings be the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars? The peaceful Occupy Chicago protest must be allowed to continue, free of harassment, as so many other cities have done forOccupy movements across the country and around the world. We demand a site where we can visibly and publicly voice our grievances 24/7.
Our First Amendment rights do not end at 11 pm.