Four Border Protestors Found Not Guilty Of Ignoring Federal Orders
Monday, October 28, 2019
Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler
Four protestors arrested during a protest at the U.S. border over the treatment of migrants by Customs Border Protection last December were found not guilty by a federal judge Monday.
After a three-hour trial, Magistrate Judge Michael S. Berg said that the government had not positively identified that any of the defendants had broken any laws.
The four were being charged with failing to comply with lawful orders, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $50,000 fine.
Two Federal Protective Service officers testified at the joint trial, but neither of the officers could say they personally saw any of the defendants cross into the restricted area next to the border wall. Supporters of the defendants erupted in cheers after the verdict was announced.
Last year’s protest was organized by local religious leaders, who led a march to the border fence in Imperial Beach to protest the treatment of migrants along the southern border.
Two of the defendants were combat veterans. The other two were religious leaders.
One of the defendants, Army veteran Brittany Ramos-Debarros, spoke about taking the case to trial.
“Today, as families are ripped apart under the guise of justice, as bombs are dropped under the guise of safety we have decided that the government will have to make its case why we are the guilty ones, why we are more guilty than it,” she said.
The protestors and their supporters sang and prayed before their trials and exited the courthouse with their arms linked.
“If love truly knows no borders, we need to keep rising up in the spirit of love and taking action,” said Rae Abileah, a member of the Jewish clergy who was one of the co-defendants. “My faith compelled me to be out here.”
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