We join over 90 other civil liberties, human rights, and environmental organizations in a letter that calls on Attorney General Chris Carr to drop the indictment of 61 Stop Cop City protesters and 2020 racial justice advocates under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The successful indictment of protesters and organizers under RICO could set a dangerous precedent that criminalizes the First Amendment protected activities social movements have generally deployed to effect social change. The protesters are being overcharged. Prosecuting them as conspirators when some of them have never even met in nonsensical and a clear prosecutorial decision to intimidate dissenters into ideological submission.
Providing financial support, engaging in civil disobedience, and doing public outreach are the acts under threat of criminalization. Touching on this key point, the letter states:
“As national and local civil society organizations who rely on the First Amendment to do our work, we are profoundly troubled by the decision to prosecute activists and organizers under RICO.
Overcharging alleged offenses as a conspiracy chills First Amendment-protected activity and tars political speech as intrinsically violence prone, casting aspersions upon the Stop Cop City movement as a whole.
As a matter of democratic necessity, we urge you to drop this selective prosecution of political dissidents.”
Read the full letter below: