Charges of assaulting a police officer were dismissed against Cannabis Culture journalist Pete Brady in Washington, DC Superior Court on October 25.
Brady was arrested and beaten while photographing US Park Police officers as they violated the civil rights of young audience members at a poorly-organized July 4th marijuana rally in Washington, DC (see CC#28, Hempfest brutality in Washington DC). Police inflicted injuries so severe that Brady was later taken to DC General Hospital. Adding insult to injury, they later charged him with assaulting a police officer, even though witnesses and Brady’s tape recording of the incident proved he was a victim of police assault, rather than a perpetrator.
Initially represented by a public defender, Brady explained “I decided to fire the public defender, and was assisted in my decision by Cannabis Culture magazine, which provided financial support for a private lawyer who cared about justice,” referring to attorney Jeff Orchard, NORML’s Director of Litigation.
“It was clear that police actions were designed to prevent Brady as a member of the press from documenting what they were doing at the July 4th smoke-in,” Orchard told Cannabis Culture. “Police are public employees accountable to all of us. Journalists serve a vital purpose by providing the public with reports on what police do to us. The police didn’t want their actions witnessed, and they used excessive force to prevent Brady from doing his job. Then they filed a false charge against him.”
Orchard helped Brady obtain the dismissal by filing massive motions which stated that police violated Brady’s civil rights and concocted a “sham charge” to hide their abuse of power.