CC reporter and photographer Pete Brady was in Washington, DC Superior Court in September, defending himself against charges arising from his arrest at a July 4 marijuana rally in DC.
At the July 4th event, Brady was photographing police officers as they violated the civil rights of audience members. Near the end of the day, two US Park Police officers told Brady he could not photograph them. When Brady told officers that he had a right to photograph them, they threw him to the ground and began beating him.
Several other officers joined in the beating, which was witnessed by approximately 200 people.
Ironically, police arrested Brady and charged him with assaulting a police officer.
He appeared in DC Superior Court on September 13th, represented by Jeffrey Orchard, who is currently the director of litigation for NORML.
Even though police and prosecutors have refused to admit the existence of a tape recording Brady made during the incident, and despite the fact that Brady’s attorney has been unable to access key documents, the prosecution and the trial judge initially tried to force the case to trial.
Orchard convinced the court to grant a continuance, calling the assault charge a “sham” contrived by police to cover up violations of Brady’s personal civil rights, his rights as a member of the press, and the use of excessive force during the arrest.
“From my experiences this year, and when I was arrested on false charges last year, I realize that the American justice system is biased against defendants,” Brady said after his court appearance. “Judges automatically believe police are telling the truth, and automatically assume that defendants and their witnesses are lying. Prosecutors hurry to bring cases to trial, even though they know little about the cases and have prevented defendants from accessing information that would result in dismissal or acquital. Even if you are innocent, the system is set up to find you guilty.”
Brady’s next court date is in late October.
Contributions to Brady’s legal costs can be sent to him care of Cannabis Culture magazine.