Revolution #51, June 18, 2006
Cleveland: Activist Jailed for Putting Up “Bush Step Down!” Posters
June 2, World Can’t Wait activist Carol Fisher was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years probation after she was brutalized during a January arrest for putting up “Bush Step Down!” posters in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. According to a fact sheet posted on worldcantwait.org, she offered to take down the posters, but the cops grabbed her and threw her to the ground. She ended up with bruises, cuts, and scrapes on her body. The cops arresting her said, “I am sick and tired of this anti-Bush shit,” and another cop said, “Shut up or I’ll kill you.” They also said, “She is definitely crazy, we should send her to the psych ward.”
Police took her to a local hospital and kept her incommunicado—she was not allowed to make phone calls. When her friends and her doctor came to the hospital, they were threatened with arrest for demanding to see her.
At pre-trial hearings, Judge McGinty showed he had already concluded she was guilty before hearing evidence. He said that she had assaulted the cops, and that it meant she must be mentally ill. At trial, no political testimony was allowed, except where it allowed the prosecution to portray Carol as a fanatic. According to the fact sheet, four members of the jury were either in law enforcement or closely connected to those who were. None of the trial witnesses testified that Carol had hit the cops. There was no physical evidence for claims that Carol bit or hit the cops, and the three cops’ testimony contradicted each other—but Carol was convicted of felony assault on a police officer.
McGinty ordered Carol to return to court prepared to apologize, or “bring your toothbrush.” He then stated that Carol must be “delusional” if she wanted to work to make Bush step down, and he ordered her to undergo psychiatric evaluation! When she refused, he sent her to the jail’s mental health unit and put her on suicide watch.
At her June 2 sentencing, the judge complained that Carol had drawn so many supporters, and implied, with no evidence, that some of the phone calls protesting her conviction had been threatening or illegal. He interrupted Carol’s character witnesses, threw out a supporter for “sighing,” and threatened to arrest Carol if she didn’t remove her “Wanted for Illegally Crossing Borders” t-shirt, which she refused to do. Carol told the judge, “You wanted an apology? You want me to show remorse? Forget about it!”
Once she was in jail after being given a 60-day sentence, the harassment has continued: as of June 7, World Can’t Wait reports that Carol has not been given the necessary medications for which has prescriptions.
It is a chilling and terrible precedent indeed when the cops brutalize people for opposing Bush, and when people are allowed to be called “delusional” for working to make a hated and dangerous president step down. World Can’t Wait is asking for people to support Carol’s defense and her appeal of the conviction. More information is available at worldcantwait.org.
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