Friday, December 7, 2018

Updates on the arrests and court actions from 40 Days of Direct Action

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2019.
From the MI PPC Coordinating Committee:

The consequences of the direct actions in Lansing continue to play out within the legal system. For all those arrested in Lansing, everyone was offered the Diversion Program which included a steep fine, community service, and no record. Some have chosen to take this, while others have or will be going to court to plead no contest and testify in the courtroom to why they acted with the Poor People’s Campaign that day. About half the group from the June 4 action at the Department of Environmental Quality are in preparation to take the action to a jury trial. In Detroit, for the June 18 action, most took a plea deal with a fine. Seven folks (#Gilbert7) are preparing for trial beginning January 18. We continue to be a new, unsettling force for liberation through every stage of these actions!

Michigan Poor People’s Campaign
Direct Action Cases Detailed Updates

During the 40 Days of Action for the Poor People's Campaign, 105 Michigan residents were arrested over six weeks of justice-seeking, non-violent direct action in Lansing and Detroit.

May 14: SOMEBODY’S HURTING OUR PEOPLE: Children, Women, and People with Disabilities in Poverty, LGBTQIA+
The State Capitol

ACTION: On May 14, following the rally at the Capital, we took to the streets. We had over 40 people risking arrest that included rabbis, pastors, priests, an imam, and religious sisters. As those risking initially held the street, it liberated the space for hundreds to step in singing, chanting, and dancing. No arrests made.

May 21: LINKING SYSTEMIC RACISM AND POVERTY: Voting Rights, Immigration, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the Mistreatment of Indigenous Communities
Department of Health and Human Services

ACTION: On May 21, following a rally at both the Capital, we marched to the Department of Health and Human Services. Twenty activists blockaded the entrances and pushed inside the building. 16 people were arrested.

CONSEQUENCES: Six people took the option of the Diversion Program paying a fine and doing community service.  Ten people took it to court speaking into the record why they acted as they plead no contest. They were fined $300 or 12 days in jail. Tommy Tackett and Bill Wylie-Kellermann refused to pay and served 12 days in Ingham County Jail.

May 29: THE WAR ECONOMY: Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence
The State Capitol

ACTION: On May 29, following the rally at the Capital, those risking arrest planted crosses on the lawn to commemorate all the death as a result of our military spending. Hundreds then went into the House while in session singing “Somebody’s hurting my children, and we won’t be silent anymore.”  At closing time, arrests were made to folks who remained in the Rotunda doing a die-in. 19 were arrested.

CONSEQUENCES: Nine of those arrested took the Diversion Program paying a fine and doing community service. Ten folks plan to plead “no contest” in the court. These cases have just been filed and we will have court dates soon.

June 4: THE RIGHT TO HEALTH AND A HEALTHY PLANET: Ecological Devastation and Health Care
MI Department of Environmental Quality

ACTION: On June 4, following the rally at the Capital, those risking arrest blocked the doors to the North, South, East and West. At each side, we named the crimes. To the North- the M5 Pipeline. To the West- Nestle’s pumping of water. To the South- the Detroit water shut offs. To the East- the poisoning of Flint’s water. At 5pm, folks moved to block the parking lot and were immediately arrested. 30 people were arrested.  

CONSEQUENCES: Eight folks entered the Diversion program to remove a misdemeanor from their record. All but 15 of the remaining group pleaded no contest or guilty and are seeking a jury trial. Sixteen of those arrested plan on taking this to a jury trial. The first pre-trial conference is scheduled for 1/15/19 at 1:30pm in Lansing 54 A District Court.

June 11: EVERYBODY’S GOT THE RIGHT TO LIVE: Education, Living Wage Jobs, Income, Housing
MI Treasury and MI State Housing Development Authority

ACTION: On June 11, following a rally at the Treasury which called attention to their control of our school systems, we marched to MI State Housing Development Authority. Almost 50 people sat in front of the entrance and were quickly arrested. 17 people were arrested.

CONSEQUENCES: Six people have taken diversion. Eleven plan to plead no contest. Currently awaiting court dates.

June 18: A NEW AND UNSETTLING FORCE: Confronting the Distorted Moral Narrative
Q-Line and Quicken Loans, Detroit

ACTION: On June 18, over 200 people protested at the main offices of DWSD and GLWA against immoral and unjust water shutoffs. PPC also interrupted the narrative of millionaire developer/gentrifier Dan Gilbert as the savior of Detroit. Those risking arrested climbed into the fountain in Campus Martius declaring water for Flint and Detroit not for profit. People also blocked the entrance to the One Detroit Building that headquarters Quicken Loans. Other blocked the Q-Line in both directions. 23 people were arrested.

CONSEQUENCES: Most arrestees pled no contest and gave statements in court to why they acted. 7 people refused the plea and are taking this to a jury trial. #Gilbert7. The trial begins January 22 in Detroit at 36th District Court at 1:30pm, and continues Jan 23-25 at 9:30am daily.