Danny Johnson from Occupy Los Angeles was arrested in Chicago on May 15th during a protest leading up to the NATO summit. Danny (or DJ) was grabbed on the arm from behind by a Chicago cop. He jerked his arm forward in a spontaneous response to being grabbed. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, a felony, as well as a misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice. DJ spent 7 days in a Chicago jail before his preliminary hearing where the judge ruled there was not probable cause to charge DJ, and dropped all charges and released him. The arresting officer originally claimed DJ had punched him, but then in court said he “bumped” him. The prosecutor’s office has 160 days to appeal to a grand jury, and reinstate the charges after their dismissal. Under political pressure from the mayor, this is exactly what they did. The prosecutor has to argue a case that lacks probable cause or evidence, an absolute waste of taxpayers’ resources and a clear example of using trumped up charges to target more prolific activists. There is now a warrant out for DJ’s arrest on 2 counts of aggravated assault on an officer, a felony charge that will show up nationally. DJ needs our help and financial support to get back to Chicago and to defeat this case. He will be facing at least a $10,000 bail, $1000 of which he will have to come up with.
DJ needs to raise bail prior to going back to Chicago, so he doesn’t have to spend time in jail. He will remain in Chicago, and with the generous representation of NLG lawyers, will hopefully defeat this case.
DJ was a vital participant of Occupy L.A. and was arrested during the raid of L.A.’s encampment at city hall. He then joined Occupy Walk USA in February, an outreach and activist walk to raise awareness, walking from San Diego to New York. The walkers have gotten as far as Albuquerque, NM. They took a break to travel to NATO in Chicago, the National Gathering in Philadelphia, and then a 99 mile march from Philadelphia to New York. DJ has been a high profile activist within the Occupy movement across the country, and Chicago’s attempt to target individuals with trumped up charges is indicative of a nationwide effort to suppress the movement through police harassment and false charges.
Please help keep DJ free, and to defeat this case, by contributing to his travel and bail fund. Ever bit helps. Let’s show our solidarity for DJ and keep him out of prison, assist him in defeating this case, freeing him to be the activist he is meant to be, speaking truth to power once again.
Please visit his wepay at: https://www.wepay.com/donations/22630