March 19, 2021
Press Liaison: Mari Matsuoka, Contact: 323-671-9839
Revcom.us, Social Media @therevcoms
LA District Attorney George Gascon’s office is prosecuting a member of the Revolution Club with misdemeanor battery, a charge which could mean up to 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine. The arrest stems from a protest during Trump’s fundraising visit to Beverly Hills on September 17, 2019. At the protest, the Revolution Club burned an American flag, declaring America Was Never Great! The Beverly Hills Police allowed the protest to be attacked by a fascist mob, trying to prevent the revolutionaries from their legal and righteous political action. The person arrested was protecting the flag burning from this violent assault yet they’re being charged with “battery!”
Refuse Fascism called for this protest action in Beverly Hills one block from Trump’s fundraiser to demand the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! During the protest, the Revolution Club formed a safety circle and burned an American flag, challenging Trump’s fascist America-first agenda along with his demand that anyone carrying out constitutionally protected flag burning should “lose their citizenship.” Revolution Club members chanted “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery, Genocide and War, 5, 6, 7, 8, America Was Never Great.” “Humanity First!” “How Do We Get Out Of This Mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!”
Videos show the Beverly Hills PD standing aside while a number of pro-Trump fascists repeatedly attacked the circle of protesters formed to ensure the flag burning would be carried out safely. The fascists used physical violence and threats. When one member of the Revolution Club stepped in front of a fascist charging the circle, he was put in a headlock by one of the fascists. As the protester attempted to extricate himself from the headlock, the police moved in with scores of police and even an armored police assault vehicle – not to stop the fascists, but to stop the legally assembled protest. The only person arrested? The Revolution Club member – now charged with battery even though he was the actual victim of the assault.
Even the police report makes clear who was waging a violent assault: “in an attempt to stop the flag burning, a 15-year-old male juvenile later identified as the victim (sic) attempted to grab the flag away from the protester trying to burn the flag.” The so-called victim attacked a legal protest and the person attacked was arrested and charged! This is a scene played out repeatedly over the last years: fascists attack a legally assembled anti-fascist protest and it is the protesters who the police target, giving fascists a free reign.
This Beverly Hills incident calls to mind a similar action in July 2016, outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on the day Trump was selected as their presidential candidate. The Revolution Club held a protest at the gates of the convention in which Joey Johnson (defendant in the 1989 Supreme Court decision which said flag burning is protected by the First Amendment) burned the US flag. Joey and the Revolution Club members were assaulted and brutalized by the scores of police as well as fascist Trump supporters. In this case, two fascists including Joe Biggs (leader of the Proud Boys) admitted in an interview with Alex Jones of InfoWars that they attacked and assaulted Johnson. In this case, the city of Cleveland charged Johnson with assault claiming Biggs and a cohort were victims of the flag burning! 15 other members of the Revolution Club who were part of that safety circle were charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor criminal charges. All criminal charges were ultimately dismissed and the City of Cleveland was forced to pay over $900,000 for violating rights of those arrested.
A recent article in the New York Times entitled “Police Shrugged Off the Proud Boys, Until They Attacked the Capitol — Two Proud Boys accused of leading a mob to Congress followed a bloody path to get there. Law enforcement did little to stop them.” highlights this pattern and practice of law enforcement giving fascists the green light to attack constitutionally protected flag burning while the protesters who are attacked are prosecuted.
In addition, here in LA, this same Revolution Club member was arrested for participating in two political protests on the Hollywood freeway with other Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism members, who unfurled a banner “Trump/Pence Must Go” in the Fall of 2017. LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office vigorously prosecuted these cases for two years even as it was revealed that the LAPD was illegally spying on Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club, sending a Confidential Informant into meetings of Refuse Fascism. These charges were finally dropped after 2 years and two mistrials.
DA Gascon and the Beverly Hills PD in this case, as well as the LAPD, continue to target political protesters and revolutionaries, while giving fascists a green light.
There will be a legal hearing on Monday, March 22, 2021, to dismiss this outrageous prosecution based on discriminatory enforcement. Call LA DA George Gascon’s office and demand this prosecution of the member of the Revolution Club be dropped immediately: 213.974.3512.
DROP THE CHARGE AGAINST BEVERLY HILLS PROTESTER NOW!