Tell North Dakota’s Attorney General - Protesting isn’t a crime.
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On January 19, 2017, Marcus Mitchell was shot by a sheriff's deputy in the eye with a pellet, and had an officer kneel on his neck while protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. He was protesting with Water Protectors. After he was shot and restrained, he and 20 other people were arrested. He may never fully recover from these injuries. Marcus has suffered irreversible loss of his senses on one side of his face, and has had severe damage to his spine. His treatment at the hands of law enforcement officers is one of many stories to come out of recent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Tell Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota’s Attorney General, to throw out this case and stand up for protester rights.
While the officers involved in this incident don’t seem to be facing any repercussions for their actions, Mitchell is now being tried for trespassing, which carries with it time in prison and a $6,000 fine. Prosecutors are alleging that Marcus trespassed onto a bridge when it was closed to the public, and blocked law enforcement from their attempts to clear people from it. His trial date is set for November 8th, but the Attorney General Stenehjem could throw this case out tomorrow. Tell the North Dakota Attorney General that protesting is not a crime.
Protesting and the right to assemble are protected by the First Amendment, but this case could set a dangerous legal precedent for North Dakota, and future cases involving the right to protest in the U.S. Making protesting a criminal offense is un-American. This case should be thrown out. Sign on and support the right to protest.
Hundreds of protesters, and even journalists, have been arrested during Dakota Access pipeline protests with charges of ‘blocking a road’ or ‘trespassing’. Marcus's trial is coming up. Send the message loud and clear to North Dakota's Attorney General, that charges like this threaten free speech and put so many people -- regardless of their politics -- at risk. People shouldn’t be tried in court for exercising their Constitutional right to show up and stand up on issues they care about. Sign on and tell Attorney General Stenehjem to throw out Marcus’s case.
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