Six journalists face felony charges for “rioting”… just for covering protests during President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The Guardian reports that means “up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.” Let’s hope they and/or their bosses can spring for a serious defense attorney.
While most of the protesters during the inauguration — along with the roughly 470,000 anti-Trump protesters who turned out for the Women’s March on Washington (D.C.) on Saturday — were peaceful, a small number were rioting and smashing plate-glass windows on Friday. When police came along, they just scooped up the reporters along with the people rioting and slapped them with the same felony charges.
According to The New York Times:
The journalists were among 230 people detained in the anti-Trump demonstrations, during which protesters smashed the glass of commercial buildings and lit a limousine on fire.
The Guardian adds:
A documentary producer, a photojournalist, a live-streamer and a freelance reporter were each charged with the most serious level of offense under Washington DC’s law against rioting, after being caught up in the police action against demonstrators.
The four mentioned above are Jack Keller, Shay Horse, Matt Hopard, and Aaron Cantú. These are in addition to Evan Engel from Vocative and Alex Rubinstein from the Russia Today (RT) America, whose arrests and felony charges The Guardian had reported on earlier.
Late Tuesday, Carlos Lauría from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for the felony charges to be dropped.
“These charges are clearly inappropriate, and we are concerned that they could send a chilling message to journalists covering future protests. We call on authorities in Washington to drop these charges immediately”
An equally alarmed Suzanne Nossel from Pen America declared:
“These felony charges are bizarre and essentially unheard of when it comes to journalists here in America who were simply doing their job. They weren’t even in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were in the right place.”
Meanwhile an attorney from the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), Maggie Ellinger-Locke, accused D.C. police of illegally using teargas and other weapons as well as having “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone.”
“These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity.”
Gee, we wonder who might not want the massive protests to get any news coverage? We all know “President” Donald Trump — aka Trumplethinskin — is ticked off that three times more people came to Washington, D.C. to protest on Saturday than to attend his inauguration on Friday. After all, protests undermine his legitimacy.
This is what happens when a GOP-led Electoral College forces a regime and its toxic agenda upon the American people, even though we rejected a “unified Republican government” by nearly 3 million votes.
WATCH: Six journalists arrested with rioters during inauguration protests and face felony charges.
And never forget: these are the “14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism” (paraphrased) as defined by a scholar named Dr. Lawrence Britt:
- Pervasive nationalism (“Make America great again.”).
- Disdain for human rights (“Lock her up!”).
- Pointing out enemies as scapegoats for a unifying cause (“They are…criminals, drug dealers, rapists.”).
- Dominance and prioritizing of the military (“Our military is more important to me than a balanced budget.).
- Over-the-top sexism (“grabbing [women] by the pussy”) .
- Control and discrediting of the news and mass media (“Don’t believe the biased and phony media.”)
- Obsession with national security (“Build a wall!”).
- Linking religion and government (“I’ll tell you one thing: I get elected president…Christianity will have power.”)
- Protection of corporate power (just look at the people Donald Trump has picked for his cabinet).
- Suppression of labor (Donald Trump’s pick to run the U.S. Dept. of Labor, fast food king Andrew Puzder, doesn’t even believe workers should get breaks during their shifts).
- Disdain for intellectuals and the Arts (“I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people.”).
- Obsession with crime and punishment with nearly limitless power given to police (“Stop and frisk worked very well in New York.”).
- Rampant crony capitalism and corruption (just look at Donald Trump’s cabinet picks, ties to Russia, conflicts of interest, etc.).
- Stolen and/or fraudulent elections (while Donald Trump howls about non-existent voter fraud, the GOP stole the 2016 election through gerrymandering, purging voter rolls, bogus Voter ID laws, and the Electoral College).
Featured image: Video screen grab via USA Today/Newsy.