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Pittsburgh 122 Trudge Through Legal System
The Pittsburgh 122 defendants and supporters held a brief [Audio]press conference Friday morning at the Municipal Courthouse. Defendants then packed themselves into the front of the courtroom to hear legal arguments and await a decision on the status of their criminal cases stemming from arrests at an anti-war march which snaked through downtown and the South Side on March 20th. The Pittsburgh Police Department has come under increasing scrutiny due to allegations of brutality from many protesters and arrestees, as well as video footage of their aggressive actions on M20.

After discussion between attorneys for the defendants and the District Attorney's office, almost all defendants were offered a deal where their hearings would be delayed and charges dismissed if they were to complete eighty hours of community service, pay court fees, and "stay out of trouble" for ninety (90) days. Those defendants under eighteen (18) will have separate court proceedings.

Some defendants refused the deal offered, and instead chose to go to trial on their charges. While all misdemeanors were dismissed, three of the four defendants who opted to go to trial were found guilty of the summary offense of obtructing traffic, and sentenced to pay $150 fines (plus court costs) and 100 hours of community service. [Article]Indymedia became an issue as prosecutors attempted to enter postings on the site into evidence as indicating a defendant's intent to block trafficways.

One defendant was not offered the deal given to other defendants, and, at his hearing, was found to have moved a newspaper box into the street. The District Attorney and police officers attempted to portray him as one of the ringleaders of the march. He was found guilty of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and given a fine of $300. At his hearing, police admitted to targeting him and having followed him at several previous protests.

[ [Article] Detailed account | [Article] Personal Account | [Audio] Press Conference Audio ]



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