Petitioning U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing D. Phillips

Drop felony charges against journalists who covered Inauguration Day protests

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On January 20th, 2017, at least seven journalists were arrested and charged with felony rioting while covering the Inauguration Day protests in downtown Washington, D.C. These charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines--not to mention the lasting impact of having a felony charge on one's record. 

These journalists were arrested simply by virtue of their presence covering the protests. They were not participants in the demonstrations and clearly identified themselves as members of the press to police. You can review the charging documents here--note the boilerplate, verbatim language in each of the complaints, which does not specify individual actions by these journalists. Please sign this petition to tell the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to drop all charges against these journalists. You can also contact the U.S. Attorney for the District of Attorney directly at channing.phillips@usdoj.gov and his spokesperson at William.Miller3@usdoj.gov. 

UPDATE: Below is the remaining journalist who faces charges of felony rioting:

  1. Aaron Cantú, independent journalist

Below are the journalists against whom the charges have been dropped:

  1. Alexander Rubinstein, reporter for RT America (https://www.scribd.com/document/337945523/Rubinstein-Alexander-Motion-to-Dismiss-Jan-2017
  2.  John Keller, documentary producer for Story of America (https://www.scribd.com/document/337945522/Keller-John-Motion-to-Dismiss-Jan-2017
  3.  Evan Engel, reporter for Vocativ  (https://www.scribd.com/document/337723706/Engel-Evan-Notice-of-Dismissal-Jan-2017
  4.  Matt Hopard, web-based video journalist (https://www.scribd.com/document/337945521/Hopard-Matthew-Motion-to-Dismiss-Jan-2017
  5. Shay Horse, independent photojournalist
  6. Alexander Stokes Contompasis, independent journalist

If other journalists are known to have been arrested and charged while covering the Inauguration Day protests in Washington, D.C., notify me via Twitter at @ScottCRodd and I will promptly update the list. 

This petition will be delivered to:
  • U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
    Channing D. Phillips


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