LA Freeway 9 Facing Second Trial
by Refuse Fascism L.A.
Monday, Sept. 16, Chantelle Hershberger and Miguel “Alex” Hernandez of the LA Freeway 9 returned to court. Despite 9 jurors finding them not guilty of all 12 charges in July, the City Attorney is proceeding with a second trial.
The hearing came days after the announcement by LAPD Chief Michel Moore of the results of a promised “top to bottom investigation” of spying by the Major Crimes Division (Anti-Terrorism Division) that was exposed during the discovery proceeding in the first trial. An undercover informant was sent on four occasions to infiltrate and record private conversations and meetings of Refuse Fascism held at Echo Park Methodist Church.
Chief Moore’s claims of reforms can be seen to be completely baseless. Here is the story that ran on the front page of Saturday’s LA Times. A video of Moore’s presentation can be seen here (beginning at hour three of the Police Commission meeting).
Chantelle Hershberger issued this response to their findings at a press conference on Friday morning: “At Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting, Chief Moore announced the completion of the LAPD’s review of their spying on Refuse Fascism. Moore announced that they found no wrongdoing in their spying and no violation of protocols, despite the fact that an infiltrator was sent into a church to record meetings and conversations with activists.
“In keeping with the long, bloody history of LAPD spying and political repression, Moore’s comments amount to saying: “it’s fine because we say so.” The allegedly independent Police Commission gives this a rubber stamp – with no evidence, no transparency, inconsistencies in Moore’s comments and nothing in place to stop them in the future except an empty promise of reforms… promises the LAPD has made and broken again and again.
“Refuse Fascism demands to know the evidence for why they are saying we were involved in “criminal activity,” the extent of the spying operation, who approved it, who was involved and how high it went. In addition to filing a Public Records Act, we demand the release of this investigation, and all associated interviews and documents.
“The LAPD is criminalizing anti-fascist protest, justifying repression and spying at a time when the Trump/Pence fascist regime is moving rapidly to gut the rule of law, terrorize immigrants and foreclose the right to protest and dissent.
“Moore claimed that the activity of Refuse Fascism is “criminal activity,” open to surveillance of the LAPD at any time anywhere. There is a pile of evidence showing this is about the suppression of political speech and protest that steps outside the confines of relying on the Democratic Party and engaging in symbolic protest-as-usual. The problem is not alleged criminal activity on the part of Refuse Fascism or the Revolution Club – the problem is fascism.
“In a mistrial in June, a hung jury (with 9 voting for acquittal) failed to conclude the Refuse Fascism and Revolution Club defendants were guilty of a crime (for unfurling a banner on the 101 freeway reading “Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”). But the Chief comes out and says that sounding the alarm about fascism – at great personal risk – is not only criminal, but the basis for surveillance and political repression. These defendants should be celebrated – not harassed and criminalized.”
City Attorney Mike Feuer brought 57 misdemeanor charges against 11 defendants, members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club, for taking actions calling for massive non-violent sustained political protest to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power in the Fall of 2017 and Spring of 2018.
Refuse Fascism is currently calling for national meetings “to consider and plan for sustained non-violent mass protest to begin this October .” More information at refusefascism.org.