The vicious absurdity of America’s “justice” system is on full display.
Earlier this month, at least 35 people were indiscriminately detained at a music festival organized by the people protesting Cop City, an under-construction gargantuan police training facility that would raze the Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta. Twenty-three of them were charged with domestic terrorism.
The arrested protesters are accused of participating in vandalism and arson at a construction site over a mile away from where the music festival was held. While all were charged with domestic terrorism, there has been no proof they were involved in illegal activity.
On Thursday, Georgia’s DeKalb Court held the second bond hearing for the arrested individuals. Out of the 10 defendants in Thursday’s hearing, eight people were outright denied bond, and two were “granted” a $25,000 bond with numerous conditions. Twelve others had received consent bonds prior to the hearing. The reasons people were denied bond were shocking, according to Hannah Riley, communications director at the Southern Center for Human Rights, who was monitoring the hearing.
One person, the sole caretaker of her aging uncle afflicted with dementia, was denied bond on the grounds that they are from New York and are therefore a flight risk, Riley reported. Another was denied bond on the basis that, though there was no evidence of them being anywhere near the site, they were “part of the team” because they were wearing black.
Other reasons used to deny bond included that they were muddy and wet (they were all in a forest, and it had rained) and had the jail support number on them (common practice during protests).
Another individual was a law student arrested at a food truck who would have been forced to withdraw from law school if they weren’t given bond. Because there was a lack of evidence, the individual was released with a $25,000 bond and ordered to wear an ankle monitor, refuse to join future protests, avoid contact with other defendants, and surrender their passport.
While Republicans make faulty comparisons of “if they can arrest a former president for using a shell company to pay hush money to a porn actress, imagine what they can do to you,” they, alongside much of the Democratic Party, are signing off on a militarized police state recklessly arresting protesters (and even plausible bystanders) and sentencing them to inordinate bond payments and even jail time.
Democrats promised a “New Civil Rights Act” and efforts to guarantee due process, human rights protections, and civil equality—so long as voters would give them the Senate majority. Still, there hasn’t been much word from the party on what happened at Cop City. Democratic Georgia Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have had markedly little to say about the violent police action, nor even about the police murder of activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán (also known as Tortuguita), the first known forest defender ever killed by the police.