Outrageous Verdict! Videographer Found Guilty, Taken Directly to Jail!
Just received from "Friends and Supporters of Gregory":
August 26: After 9 months of vengeful and unrelenting pursuit of a conviction by the Cook County (Illinois) State’s Attorney and the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago (EHSC), videographer Gregory Koger was found guilty today of trespass, resisting arrest, and battery for the “crime” of videotaping a brief but newsworthy statement by Sunsara Taylor at the EHSC. Gregory was maced and brutalized during the arrest, and this was acknowledged by police at trial, yet he was the one charged and now found guilty.
|Aug. 26: Outside Cook County Jail after the verdict|
Supporters went straight from the suburban courthouse to the jail to protest and demand “Free Gregory.” This was really welcomed by people coming in and out of the jail, by people driving by, and most of all, by prisoners in the windows and in the yard as the protesters chanted, “Videotaping is not a crime, Gregory Koger should not do time, Free Gregory Koger!” and “No Justice, No Peace, No Brutalizing Police!” and “Gregory Koger: Watch His Back!”
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
• Send this newsflash to everyone you know. Use Twitter, Facebook, use the list serves you are on to get this out everywhere
• Immediately send statements of support for Gregory to the defense committee AdHoc4Reason@gmail.com
• Donate money for the appeal. Go to the defense committee website for more information www.dropthecharges.net
• Show your support at the sentencing hearing on September 8.
• More information will be coming; keep in touch with the Ad Hoc Committee at AdHoc4Reason@gmail.com
The day before he was arrested Gregory had filmed a two-hour workshop by Sunsara Taylor in the exact same venue with no objections. The next day he accompanied Taylor when she returned to make a short statement objecting to the EHSC’s abrupt cancellation of her longscheduled speech and inviting anyone who wanted to hear the presentation to the home of an EHSC member who opened her doors when the society shut theirs. When told to stop filming before Sunsara made her statement, he put down the video camera as requested. His only device to capture Sunsara’s short statement was an iPhone. He was doing nothing wrong or illegal at the time he was rushed by the police in the lecture hall right after Sunsara announced that she was leaving.
Gregory had very difficult circumstances as a youth, yet he has transformed himself into a political activist, leading a very ethical life. The irony of this has been noted by more than one humanist; the EHSC should be giving him a platform to speak, not trying to throw him in jail! Gregory has done very constructive things, dedicating his life to ending oppression. He came alive in the struggle to protect women’s reproductive rights in the wake of the murder of abortion provider Dr. Tiller. He donned an orange jumpsuit to draw attention to torture of prisoners at Guantánamo. He marched against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He went to the Southside of Chicago to speak out against police shootings of young Black men. He has helped to provide revolutionary literature, like Revolution newspaper, to prisoners, and he has spoken to young people in Chicago classrooms as he sought to reach out to youth and others trapped in the bottom of society. And as part of his activism, he videotapes events, like he was doing that day. This is not someone who should be thrown in jail for almost 3 years for literally holding up an iPhone. Shame on those who seek to ruin a man’s life to pursue their objectives.