RNC 8 not terrorists after all, some charges dropped
Photo courtesy of the RNC8
Shocking news of the day: The eight Republican National Convention protesters originally charged as terrorists aren't really terrorists after all. Thank you Susan Gaertner for finally coming to your senses.
The Ramsey County Attorney dropped two of the four charges against the RNC 8 today. The dropped charges: one count of conspiracy to commit riot in furtherance of terrorism, and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property in furtherance of terrorism.
While this is good news for those charged, they still face charges for conspiracy to commit riot and conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property, which could result in five years of prison time.
There were serious motives behind the dropped charges, according to the RNC 8 defendants and their supporters. They say Gaertner has her eyes on higher political office and dropping those charges could help bolster her chances of getting the Democratic ticket.
The RNC 8: Erik Oseland, Eryn Trimmer, Garrett Fitzgerald, Luce Guillen-Givens, Max Specktor, Monica Bicking, Rob Czernick, and Nathanael Secor.
The defendants are believed to be the first in Minnesota to be charged under the MN Patriot Act.
More from the RNC 8 and their buddies:
In removing the controversial MN PATRIOT Act from the debate at this moment, Susan Gaertner obviously hopes to defray the costs of this unprecedented prosecution on her campaign for Governor, and to mitigate the overwhelmingly negative public opinion of Ramsey County's repressive behavior during and since the RNC.
"Make no mistake," said defendant Luce Guillen-Givins, "This change to the complaint against us is a token gesture meant to placate our supporters and bolster a floundering political prosecution."
As defendant Eryn Trimmer pointed out, "This move only focuses attention more acutely on the outrageous nature of the two remaining charges, Conspiracy to Commit Riot and Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage to Property."
"We're relieved and gratified that the most sensational part of the charges has been dropped," said St. Paul peace and justice activist Betsy Raasch-Gilman, member of Friends of the RNC 8. She continued, "We hope that the conspiracy charges will also be dropped. If planning a protest can be called conspiracy, the right to free speech is in real danger."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.