|"This was a misuse and abuse of campus police power. I engaged in a peaceful, silent expression of dissent — or, as we would say in the Christian tradition, an expression of bearing witness — and I was shockingly assaulted." — Ray McGovern|
Join the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in court in the District of Columbia this Monday, March 26, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. We will be presenting oral argument in the civil rights lawsuit of peace activist Ray McGovern before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom 31 on the 5th floor. We advise arriving at least 45-60 minutes early to allow time to get through security lines, which can be long.
In 2011, Ray was violently arrested by George Washington University Special Police Officers when he stood silently and peacefully, with his back turned, during a speech by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an expression of opposition to policies in the Middle East. Ray, then 71 years old, was wearing a Veterans for Peace t-shirt. In events that unfolded in a matter of seconds, he was seized from behind, removed from the auditorium and left bloodied and with contusions all over his body.
In a departure from long standing law, the lower court determined that no constitutional violations were committed against Ray. We are seeking to overturn the court's erroneous ruling and are now arguing the case at the appellate court on Monday. Please take a moment to help support this important effort to obtain justice and defend free speech.
Details for attending the oral argument
Oral argument in McGovern v Brown (Case No. 17-7073) will be held on March 26, at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 31, 5th Floor (Please note that there will be two different courtrooms hearing appellate cases Monday morning. Ray's case will be heard in courtroom 31.)
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is located at 333 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001. It is located one block northwest of the U.S. Capitol. The building faces Constitution Avenue where Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues merge. Bring ID. We advise arriving at least 45-60 minutes early to allow time to get through security lines, which can be long. More location information is here.
Earlier in the litigation, the PCJF discovered that after his arrest, the State Department issued a "Be On the Look-Out" (BOLO) alert against Mr. McGovern, that directed agents to stop and question him on sight. The reasons cited for issuing the BOLO had included his "political activism, primarily anti-war." The PCJF successfully ensured that the BOLO was rescinded by the State Department. Mr. McGovern has continued his fight for justice against George Washington University and its campus police officers for false arrest and excessive force.
There is a significant danger posed if campus police officers are allowed to operate outside the bounds of the law in service to private university policy to silence and punish peaceful, dissenting voices.
For seven years, the PCJF has represented Ray McGovern pro bono to defend fundamental constitutional rights at stake and seek justice for Ray. Click here to make a donation to support these critical legal efforts. We need your help to make this work possible.