[Submission from the Pittsburgh National Lawyers Guild received on 05.28.21]
Over 60 people have been charged with felonies in Pittsburgh for last summer’s protests.
Most of them aren’t famous. Most of them don’t have hundreds of Instagram followers, or on-line fundraising campaigns, or the backing of large activist organizations. Many of them are facing years in prison for the first and only protest they ever attended. Six of them are confined in Allegheny County Jail. An unknown number are also facing federal charges.
Some of them have private lawyers, but most are dependent on public defenders or the office of conflict counsel. A few have reached plea deals, some more favorable than others. Every one of them took the streets to express their anger and outrage at the police murder of George Floyd, and the vast majority are facing life-shattering consequences as a result.
Elsewhere the things are little different. A year after the George Floyd uprising, prosecutors across the country are still throwing the book at every protester they could get their hands on, aided by a virtual media blackout and the silence of liberal nonprofits.
To raise awareness of this situation, the National Lawyers Guild is circulating a petition (https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/drop-the-charges-blm) to drop all federal charges against Black Lives Matter demonstrators. We ask for organizations and individuals to sign it, and encourage their networks to do the same. In addition the Pittsburgh NLG chapter is raising money for legal support of all local protesters facing felony charges. Please donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/pittsburgh-nlg-felony-defense-fund
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