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Four Border Protestors Found Not Guilty Of Ignoring Federal Orders

Brittany Ramos-Debarros, a member of About Face Veterans Against the War, spe...

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: Brittany Ramos-Debarros, a member of About Face Veterans Against the War, speaks before her trial on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. She was charged with failing to comply with lawful directions from a federal officer during a protest at the border on December 2018.

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.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

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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Aired: October 29, 2019 | Transcript

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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