Kansas City J20 First Anniversary – Report Back

The Greater Kansas City IWW tabled at two separate events on the first anniversary of J20.

The first event was the first installment in a series of talks about racism in    America, hosted by the Reale Justice Network. This event focused on the city council’s vote to privatize the streets and sidewalks in the Westport area — a backwards attempt at gun control — and how that relates to the Sun Fresh grocery store boycott which was triggered by occurrences of violence and intimidation against black people perpetrated by police and private security forces at the store.

On December 11, 2017,

While going to the store to get soup for his sick wife, a community member was profiled and harassed by security guards at Sunfresh on Mills street in Westport. 3 security guards were on the ready to pull their weapons on him, a CUSTOMER who had shopped in that store several times. Since the incident, management has been UNCOOPERATIVE, UNACCOUNTABLE and UNCONCERNED about the potential physical harm that was sure to occur if one wrong move was made or the very real emotional and psychological harm this abuse did cause this family. [via Reale Justice Network]

***************CALL TO ACTION*************

BOYCOTT SUNFRESH IN WESTPORT 4001, MILLS ST.

Bob Smith runs the store, CALL HIM at 816-931-1639, ASK for the customer complaints process, Let him know how you feel about people being profiled and harassed in his store. TELL him to do the right thing, and reach out to the family for a proper meeting.

Tell your friends and family about what’s happening at this store.

CALL WSC SECURITY SERVICES, 913-305-3776, TELL THEM TO FIRE THE 3 GUARDS and to respond to the list of demands from the family and community organizations.

Demand that WSC issues an apology to Mr. Bowers

Please follow us on Facebook @Realejustice00, we will be following up on all demands and will update you all on what is going on and any next steps.

Reale Justice Network/No Justice No Profit/Operation Shut it down Demands

  1. We demand an apology for the way that Mr. Bowers was treated in the store.
  2. We demand a meeting with the store owner.
  3. We demand to be advised of the proper complaints process for the store.
  4. We demand to be advised of the proper complaints process for the security company, WSC Services.
  5. We demand the immediate release of the security video to the family.
  6. We demand the firing of all 3 security guards.
  7. We demand that Sunfresh releases it’s policies on following customers.
  8. We demand that WSC Services releases its policies on following customers.
  9. We demand that Sunfresh implement new non-discrimination policies, approved by the Bowers family, grassroots and community organizations.
  10. We demand that WSC Services implements new non-discrimination policies, approved by the Bowers family, grassroots and community organizations.

 

The second event, hosted by Food Not Bombs and IWW was the first installment in a series of screenings of Submedia’s documentary series Trouble and featured a group discussion of local anti-capitalist/activist efforts in the Kansas City area in the past year, present efforts and needs, and future goals and ambitions.

Introduction to J20 [read by 2 wobblies and a representative from Food Not Bombs]

On January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president. People showed up to protest all over the country. Over a million were in the streets. In D.C., particularly, many felt drawn to the capitol to express their dissent.

The MPD – D.C.’s police force – have a history of using excessive force to extinguish protests. In fact, Chief Newsham in 2002 ordered another mass arrest where over 400 “peaceful demonstrators, tourists, passers-by, and legal observers” were hogtied and many remained that way for over 24 hours.  The district was ultimately required to pay nearly 11 million dollars in settlements. Nearly everyone expected them to use a little more restraint on this occasion because of that incident.

They did not comply with people’s’ expectations. On January 20th, the MPD hurled concussion grenades at people just walking down the street engaged in peaceful protest. They also sprayed people with a chemical agent known as OC spray – or pepper

spray – but is certainly not as innocuous as it sounds. According to the KQED health website, it has been found to cause permanent damage to the cornea after repeated exposure. It is an inflammatory agent that in high doses can cause respiratory, cardiac, and neurological problems, or even death.

After all of these abuses that the MPD inflicted on DC residents and visitors, they proceeded to engage in a mass arrest, also known as a kettle, sweeping up 230 people indiscriminately just for being in the area when they decided to do it. They kept these people literally backed up against a wall with no access to bathrooms, food, or water for 8 hours. People were forced to urinate in empty water bottles. Not that police have a reputation for following protocol, but one concern in this case is their failure to call a dispersal order before making the mass arrest. According to their Standard Operating Procedure, they are legally required to issue a dispersal order before making any arrests. They attempted to claim that the sound of sirens and using pepper spray to displace the oxygen out of the greater D.C. area counts as a dispersal order. Even according to their own rules, logic aside, that is simply not true.

A very rough and incomplete J20 Defense Timeline                           

On November 29th 2017, ten months and nine days after 230 protesters and bystanders were kettled by militarized police, court proceedings for the first group of J20 defendants finally went underway.

-November 29, 2017

Washington, DC – In the courtroom of Judge Lynn Leibovitz, DC Superior Court, proceedings are underway for the first trial group of those mass-arrested during Trump’s inauguration protests. The individuals who were rounded up indiscriminately by police using a crowd-control tactic known as “kettling”, are now spending their days in front of a jury.

This is a clear example of what a police kettle looks like. This took place in 2010 at the G20 protests in Toronto.
The J20 kettle at 12th & L streets

In a trial expected to last many weeks, Assistant US Attorneys Jennifer Kerkhoff and Rizwan Qureshi are testing the viability of their radical guilt-by-association case on the first six defendants, who have insisted on their sixth amendment right to a speedy trial.

[via Unicorn Riot]

-December 3, 2017

    To absolutely no one’s surprise, the world finds out that the police commander behind the J20 arrests is a racist homophobe.

[via Unicorn Riot]

-December 21, 2017

    Jury Finds Six #J20 Defendants “Not Guilty” on All Charges

A jury in D.C. has found six J20 defendants not guilty on all charges, a major defeat for federal prosecutors in the first full trial. 188 individuals still face trial for participating in the inauguration-day protests against Trump in Washington, D.C. So far, 42 of the protest-related charges have been rejected at jury trial.

    And on January 18, 2018, two days before the anniversary of J20, the watching world awoke to this lovely headline:

US Attorney Drops 129 Trump Inauguration Protest Cases, 59 Still Face Decades In Prison  [https://www.unicornriot.ninja/2018/us-attorney-drops-129-trump-inauguration-protest-cases-59-still-face-decades-in-prison/]

 

On January 20th 2018, we gathered together, looked back on the previous year and said silently to ourselves “holy fucking shit, that was insane” and asked each other, out loud, “what do we do now?” Some of us have been arrested and imprisoned. We’ve been threatened by cop-sanctioned right-wing paramilitary LARPers. We know the violence of the state by the denial of basic human necessities to the women incarcerated at Franklin County Correctional Center. We know the violence of the state by the senseless beating and harassment by police of people of color in our community. We know it by murders perpetrated by the police in our own front yards. And we know it by the pain and precariousness – the day to day grind, whether employed or unemployed – of finding enough food to eat, clean clothes to wear, a warm bed to sleep in, and the peace of mind that the next day will come and we will still have the ability to fight.

But just as some of us have been arrested, we’ve bailed each other out. Just as we have been threatened and attacked, we have defended each other and pushed back. We have confronted the forces that treat our incarcerated sisters and brothers as less than human. We have fed each other, clothed and housed each other. We have taught each other and entertained one another. We have been there for each other.

Even while we have been tired, confused, beaten and bloodied, while we have fucked up and gotten angry at each other, we have been building something beautiful that exists without the state and without capitalism that can provide for us all, and I am extremely proud of all of us.

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