Washington, D.C. police and federal prosecutors have been collaborating with notorious right-wing groups and using doctored videos to ambush their targets in an attempt to convict and jail protesters from President Trump’s inauguration. How deep is the relationship between the police, federal prosecutors and these extremists? And in MPD’s case, are DC police breaking the law, as its city council has passed laws barring them from spying on protesters or protest groups? A PCJF FOIA lawsuit seeks to answer these questions.
PCJF Files Lawsuit Over D.C. Police Department’s Relationship with Right-Wing Organizations to Infiltrate and Surveil Protest Groups
PCJF today filed a FOIA lawsuit demanding government disclosure of documents regarding the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and its officers’ relationships with Project Veritas, Oath Keepers and other groups who helped the MPD infiltrate and surveil protest groups.
The U.S. Attorney’s office “is desperate in the remaining cases to establish that people can be imprisoned not for criminal actions but rather for their association and proximity to others,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional lawyer and executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, told The Intercept. “The third category of defendants are being prosecuted based on presumed shared political views and association, specifically participation in a political march while wearing black.”
Alex Rubinstein, an independent journalist who was one of the 200 people falsely arrested during the "J20" protests at the Trump inauguration, interviews PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard about the work of the PCJF, in particular how it relates to the rights of the arrested protesters and the behavior of the police.
A public records request and lawsuit by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund confirms that the Metropolitan Police Department failed to issue dispersal warnings or orders prior to mass arrests at the Trump Inauguration. The police actions on January 20 violated laws enacted by the D.C. Council in 2005, as well as the MPD’s own Standard Operating Procedures requiring such notice prior to arrest.
After months of denial and stonewalling by the General Service Administration (GSA), the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has uncovered through painstaking and persistent litigation that certain government communications between the GSA and the Trump Organization negotiating terms of the arrangements for the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue have been kept outside agency records, on private email.
The Empire Files' Abby Martin sat down recently with PCJF's Mara Verheyden-Hilliard to discuss assaults on civil liberties taking place around the country.
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