• Planning a Protest? Plan Ahead for Legal Support!

    If you or your organization are planning a protest/rally/demo/action/vigil etc. in the Richmond area, consider contacting for legal support BEFORE you run into trouble. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure! Contact Richmond Copwatch to get trainings on Know Your Rights, and to get trained Copwatchers with video cameras to your event. sbhcopwatch@gmail.com or 804 303 5449 Contact Richmond Legal Observers to get a trained observer in a neon hat to come out to your event. Email - bakhtiarijj {at} vcu.edu We are working on getting a group of lawyers together who will be able to offer help/ advice/ contact/ and hopefully even representation to activists in Richmond. If you are a lawyer who would like to support social justice movements in the way please get in touch with the organizers of this website at rvaabc@gmail.com
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Richmond Anarchist Jeremy Hawthorne, Felony Trial Feb. 1st

Calling all beards for a BEARD BLOC on Feb. 1st!

Jeremy Hawthorne, arrested September 5th, 2011 while on a Copwatch patrol, is going on trial before a jury for allegedly slashing 7 tires on Virginia Commonwealth University vehicles, including two police cars. The charge is Destruction of State Property > $1,000, a Class 6 Felony.The case is clearly politically motivated; as a part of Richmond Copwatch, Jeremy is one of several who have been targeted by Richmond police in past months for their work against police brutality and poor jail conditions in the city. The notoriously heavy-handed RPD and its officers, ever the subject of much controversy, have bristled and taken a particularly antagonistic attitude with activists, protestors, and copwatchers, reacting in a consistently aggressive, violent, and reckless manner. Accountability, on the other hand, has been elusive.

The “evidence” used to indict Jeremy is insubstantial, and many details surrounding testimonies evidence gathering, and the circumstances leading to Jeremy’s arrest, are questionable at best.
Commonwealth Attorney Christopher Toepp is handling the case per his personal request, intent on a full conviction. Toepp has had a long year of high-profile cases, having been on the prosecution for the Monroe Park Occupation, and the African burial ground demonstration. If Chris Toepp has his way, Jeremy would face 5 years in prison.
The description of the person depicted in the so-far unreleased surveillance footage is incredibly mundane: a beard, a hat (maybe camo, brown, or black?), tattoos, a black sleeveless or rolled-up shirt, a bag, and a step-thru frame bike. In Richmond, this could easily be thousands of people. The alleged acts occurred on August 23rd, the Monday proceeding Best Friends Day, meaning hundreds more out-of-town hipster look-alikes were wild in the streets.

We encourage all those who think they may roughly fit this description to come to the hearing, inside the courtroom and out, as part of a “beard bloc.”

Folks who wish to come out in support- the hearing will be in courtroom 305 of the John Marshall Court Building, 400 N. Ninth St., Richmond, Virginia; 9:30AM Wednesday, February 1st.

For more information, you can contact rvaabc@gmail.com and check richmondlegalsupport.wordpress.com for updates.
We ask all to donate to his legal fund, via the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross (2005 Barton Avenue, Richmond, VA 23222).

Call to Support Local Activists!

Hello Friends!

This is a draft of a letter concerning a pattern of discriminatory police repression and intimidation of local Richmond activists. If your organization supports the Occupy Richmond movement, the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, causes for social justice, or our civil rights in general, please consider endorsing, posting on your websites, sending out on your email lists, and sending the following letter to the addresses below:

letters@styleweekly.com, letters@timesdispatch.com, letters@richmondfreepress.com, editor@commonwealthtimes.com, editor@rvanews.com, editor@richmag.com, “Kevin/GayRVA” , news@richmondfreepress.com, news@timesdispatch.com, news@wric.com, newstips@wtvr.com, news@wrir.org, newsroom@nbc12.com, Reva.trammell@richmondgov.com, “Robertson, Ellen F. – Council Member” , bruce.tyler@richmondgov.com, Marty.Jewell@richmondgov.com, charles.samuels@richmondgov.com, Kathy.graziano@richmondgov.com, ASKTHEMAYOR@richmondgov.com, “chris hilbert” , doug.conner@richmondgov.com, cynthia.newbille@richmondgov.com, BRYAN.NORWOOD@RICHMONDGOV.COM

Get the word out and help support local organizers! If you have any questions or concerns please get in touch at wingnut_collective@yahoo.com

Thank You!

To Whom It May Concern:

We the undersigned would like to express our concern that members of the Richmond Police Department may be singling out a group of Richmond activists for harassment. Specifically Richmond’s anarchist community, including the Wingnut Anarchist Collective.

The Wingnut Anarchist Collective is an anarchist organization based in Richmond’s Southern Barton Heights neighborhood on the Northside. Its members are involved in helping to feed homeless people through their support of the free weekly Food Not Bombs meal in Monroe Park, facilitating a neighborhood grocery distribution, and encouraging correspondence with prisoners. They are also active in local anti-war, civil rights, LGBTQ, and womens reproductive freedom movements.

Wingnuts also participate in a program called CopWatch, in which volunteers observe and record police activity and watch for abuses. The program has been particularly active during the First Fridays art walk, which has seen encounters between police officers and Black youth.

While participating in September’s First Friday monthly CopWatch patrol, Jeremy Hawthorne, a member of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, was arrested and is currently awaiting trial on fallacious charges.

On Nov. 9, two Richmond anarchists, Hunter Singleton and Wingnut member Eric Scott, were arrested while marching around Monroe Park with hundreds of members and supporters of Occupy Richmond. The march took place 10 days after a massive police operation, carried out at 1:15 in the morning, that shut down the Occupy Richmond encampment at Kanawha Plaza.

On the evening of the march, people were concerned that the police, again out in large numbers, might use tear gas against the marchers. As a result, many marchers wore kerchiefs, scarves, or other cloths soaked in vinegar around their necks or faces. And yet, only Eric and Hunter were arrested, handcuffed, and charged with wearing a mask in public. Video footage of the arrests show no resistance on the part of Eric or Hunter.

All of these cases carry felony charges, which following a conviction would severely curtail the accused’s rights and make finding employment an even more difficult prospect in the current job market.

Our concern is that at least some members of the Richmond Police Department may have decided that the Wingnut and anarchist activists are fair game for harassment. Given the volatility of the times – high unemployment, deep anxieties over the economy and growing concerns about police conduct, as in the department’s overreaction to the Final Four street gatherings around Virginia Commonwealth University, we the undersigned organizations and concerned individuals of the Richmond area hereby call on Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood to make it clear to all members of the Richmond Police Department that discriminatory treatment of members of the public, regardless of political beliefs or affiliations, will not be tolerated.

Signed: