For Immediate Release October 1 2019
Press Contact: Mari Matsuoka (323) 574-3997
UCLA5 Case In Trial NOW
Defendants Facing Jail Time for Protesting Steve Mnuchin at UCLA in Feb, 2018
In a test of a new UCLA Policy for “events that trigger protest,” four members of the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism LA being tried, criminally charged for speaking out during a speech by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
The defendants are on trial for criminal misdemeanor charges with some facing up to 3 months and others facing over 2 years in jail. (One of the defendants in the same case is also being charged for speaking loudly in an event with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who was instrumental in the cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald.)
In February 2018 Mnuchin spoke on the UCLA campus to major protest, with many people hissing and booing throughout his speech. The people now on trial spoke up during Mnuchin’s speech, exposing the role he is playing as a member of Trump’s cabinet, the impact of his tax bill and sanctions on Iran and North Korea, which he was bragging about. They also called on the audience to act: “[Mnuchin] is part of a regime that is hell-bent on consolidating fascism…don’t stand aside.”
When speaking out, the defendants stayed seated in their chairs, raising substantive critiques and differences with Mnuchin. Video of their statements and brutal arrests made national news and were seen by millions. Mnuchin tried to suppress video of the event which, in an unprecedented move, UCLA complied with until the Society of Professional Journalists filed a public records request.
In addition to trespass and resisting arrest, they are being charged with “disturbing the peace.”
Michelle Xai, from the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism, LA said, “This is entirely upside down. Mnuchin was bragging about killing sanctions and their politics of cruelty, but we’re charged with ‘disturbing the peace’ for speaking loudly during his event! These cases are criminalizing constitutionally protected protest and speech. While the Trump/Pence fascist regime threatens humanity, gutting the rule of law, stacking the courts with fascists, rounding up immigrants, consolidating a fascist America, many more need to be ‘disturbing the peace’ of fascist normalization. To do so is righteous, necessary and just!”
These charges are part of a pattern of political targeting of the Revolution Club at UCLA. In the pre-trial phase, it came out that the UCPD was stalking the Revolution Club, recording their activities and even license plates when on campus carrying out constitutionally protected political organizing. These same organizers are also part of Refuse Fascism, which has been the object of LAPD spying and has been exposed in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and other places, in relation to associated legal cases of the #Freeway9. (Copies of discovery documents available on request.)
Tala Deloria, a former student at UCLA and part of the National Revolution Tour, said “These cases will set a dangerous precedent in the midst of a fight over the role of Universities and the foreclosing of dissent. In March, Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at carving out more space for fascist speakers and giving backing to a movement of Nazi youth. University administrations are greasing the skids for fascism, spending millions protecting the free speech of fascists, while criminalizing ANTI-fascist protest and speech. Professors are reported by right-wing students, amplified by hysterical fascist media unleashing a swarm of internet trolls – all working to drive critical thinking out of academia. Evolution, climate science, the truth about America’s history and its role in the world today, Ethnic Studies and anything evidence-based is under assault. Instead of saying NO, the universities are facilitating the suppression of dissent and normalizing a fascist remaking of the country.”
In a further violation of the First Amendment, those arrested were given a 7 day ban from campus – with nothing in writing and no way to contest or appeal it. This ban constitutes a “prior restraint” – a fundamental violation of the right to speech and protest. In trial, the Prosecution claimed that they violated this ban for “no legitimate purpose.” In fact, two of the defendants are being charged with violating the ban to participate in a March 1 student protest, 11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants and again, several days later, to see the whistleblower Chelsea Manning speak on campus. Criminalizing such activity on a public university is a dangerous outrage.
Opening arguments took place on Friday and trial continues Tuesday, October 1. The Prosecution will involve witnesses testifying against the #UCLA5, including a number of UCPD officers who arrested and stalked the Revolution Club and UCLA Administrators including Mick Deluca, the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Campus Life and Kris Kaupalolo with the Student Organization Leadership and Engagement.
Case 8AR01453 at Airport Courthouse, Dept. 90, Superior Court
Stay tuned to @RefuseFacismLA and @RevClub_LA for legal updates.
Refuse Fascism Fact Sheet on the #FREEWAY9 and the #UCLA5
NOW THIS NEWS video: Trump’s treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin was booed and heckled by students at UCLA — and then he tried to hide the footage
Op-Ed: The LAPD spied on our group. Here’s why we shut down the 101 Freeway
Los Angeles Times, Chantelle Hershberger and Miguel “Alex” Hernandez, August 9, 2019
LAPD informant infiltrated left-wing activists during Trump protests, records show
Los Angeles Times, James Queally, Staff Writer July 19 2019
Los Angeles police spied on anti-Trump protesters
The Guardian Sam Levin in Los Angeles July 19 2019