Portion of Minneapolis Police Settlement to Go to Anarchists Facing Trial
Minneapolis, MN--The RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth, Twin Cities anarchist organizers facing trial this fall on politically motivated conspiracy charges, are receiving donations to their legal defense funds from an unlikely source--zombies who settled a lawsuit with the City of Minneapolis late last week.
The seven "zombie" street theatre performers split a $165,000 settlement with their lawyer stemming from police misconduct during their false arrests in 2006 [see http://tinyurl.com/strib-zombies]. Members of the Zombie 7 have pledged at least $4,000 of their settlement to the legal defense of the RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth, another Minneapolis activist facing a politically-motivated conspiracy trial this fall.
"The Zombie 7 were not slapped with criminal charges after being absurdly arrested for 'simulating weapons of mass destruction,'" said Raphi Rechitsky, one of the Zombie 7. "But countless others are prosecuted for their artistic and political expression, views, and associations, much like the RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth. They face not only jail time and exhausting legal proceedings, but also costly legal defense. My fellow zombies and I have come to understand that with a flip of a coin, we could have been the ones to face criminal charges on outrageous accusations of 'violence.'"
Rechistky announced the donation in a video viewable at link to www.vimeo.com.
He continued, "I see this money as not just compensation for my ordeal, but also money for people battling back against the punitive criminal justice system."
Because the zombies' 2006 protest satirized "mindless consumerism," local and national media have speculated upon how the settlement money will be spent. The donation back into movement defense shows the zombies are still (un)deadly serious about challenging consumerism.
Earlier this year, the RNC 8 received at least one other large donation thanks to local law enforcement misconduct. Long-time St. Paul activist Betsy Raasch-Gilman settled a lawsuit against Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher this spring. Raasch-Gilman had sued Fletcher for intrusion into her privacy as a result of police surveilling her before and during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Raasch-Gilman donated the proceeds of her $5,000 settlement, after legal costs, to the RNC 8 defense fund.
Melissa Hill of the RNC 8 Defense Committee commented, "It's ironic that the Twin Cities police departments, which ratcheted up unwarranted fear of anarchists before and after the RNC, are now indirectly contributing thousands of dollars to these same anarchists' criminal defense through civil settlements."
"We've long suspected this," Hill said, "but police in the Twin Cities truly seem to have lost their braaaaaiiiinnnnss."
For more information on the RNC 8 case, visit http://rnc8.org. For more information on Scott DeMuth's case, visit http://davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com
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