Anti-NATO Activists Charged With "Providing Material Support for Terrorism" in Apparent Retaliation for Calling Out Police Intimidation

Well this is a deeply screwed up story, even for someone who reads about police wrongdoing and unjust anti-activist measures all the time. Some anti-NATO protesters in Chicago have been arrested and charged with “possession of incendiary or explosive device, conspiracy to commit terrorism & providing material support for terrorism," in apparent retaliation for being involved with a recent video that shed light on Chicago police intimidation practices.

Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola wrote a post late last night about how a group of activists were detained, with some of them released on Friday night:

Two of the nine activists arrested in a preemptive raid of an apartment in Bridgeport on the south side of Chicago were finally released Friday night. They joined four activists that were released earlier. Three activists remained in jail without charge.

The activists had been held without charge for close to thirty-six hours and had been disappeared by Chicago police on Wednesday night. They were moved from the Organized Crime Division to Kedzie-Homan in District 4 of Chicago.

Gosztola writes about how the activists, who had been part of a "Fuck the Police" march earlier in the week, were shackled, taunted, called "junkies," and threatened with felony conspiracy charges after the home they were staying in was ransacked by police wielding guns. One activist said the cops "destroyed everything" in the apartment.

The activists may not be exactly saints -- during the anti-police march they reportedly mocked and taunted police officers and angered residents. But it was a video that some of the activists were involved with, showing Chicago police threatening violence during the upcoming NATO protests and generally intimidating protesters, that may have gotten the activists in the most trouble.

In an update to his post, Gosztola describes what happened to the three activists who remained in custody Friday night:

The three activists that remained in jail have now been charged with “possession of incendiary or explosive device, conspiracy to commit terrorism & providing material support for terrorism,” according to the National Lawyers Guild attorney Sarah Gelsomino who is representing the activists arrested and disappeared in a night raid on Wednesday in Bridgeport, Chicago. (h/t @OccupyChicago)

As noted previously, the three activists remaining — Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, Brent Betterly — appear in the video posted of police threatening violence during the NATO summit. It now seems clear that police are charging them in retaliation for posting the video.

You can watch that video here:

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at May 19, 2012, 5:54am

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