“The government is charging more than 200 people with felonies for a couple of broken windows, which is like dragging the oceans and destroying all forms of sea life in the hopes of netting one small fish.”
“The government is spraying the fields of the First Amendment with chemicals and toxins that will damage the vitality of our Constitution for generations to come.”
These lines are included in a motion filed Wednesday, February 8, by Denver-based attorney Jason Flores-Williams. The former novelist has added some literary flair to a case in which he's defending clients who were arrested at an inauguration protest in Washington, D.C., on January 20 and charged with felonies under the federal riot act.
The protest in question was one of the more dramatic events that occurred around the inauguration, during which a couple hundred protesters engaged in “black bloc” tactics — a strategy in which demonstrators wear black clothing and facial protection to shield their identity from law enforcement while inflicting maximum chaos.
I was in D.C. and covered the protest, which was only twenty minutes long but resulted in a number of broken windows at bus stops, a bank, a Starbucks and a McDonald's. (Here is my firsthand account of the drama.)
It also resulted in over 200 arrests and felony charges under the federal riot act, including six journalists who were corralled with black bloc protesters into an intersection where D.C. police apprehended them en masse.
A handful of those charged are being represented by Flores-Williams, who was in D.C. to film a television pilot and has been a frequent subject of Westword coverage since our feature profile, “Ready for Action.”
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Flores-Williams says that the federal government has gone too far by subpoenaing the Facebook accounts of his clients.
“Government subpoenas are only a further attempt — when taken with the indiscriminate charging of felonies in this matter — to chill the rights of expression and association by invading and monitoring private life and relationships,” says the attorney.
We've posted his entire motion below: