Activism and Arrests Panel at PorcFest 2011

by Garret Ean
June 29, 2011

This year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival drew many noteworthy figures from the liberty movement to the granite state. The festival spanned from June 20-26, and on Saturday, a panel moderated by Jason Talley of the Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund featured John Kurtz of Orlando Copwatch and Eddie Freeman of the Jefferson Dance Party. Stories related to all three individuals has been featured at Free Concord, and it was especially nice to record original content from John and Eddie, who are known for their activism outside of the Shire. The panelists gave advice, spoke of what initially motivated their activism, their current engagements, and plans for the future.

Here’s links to five videos compiled from the Activism and Arrests panel from youtube.com/freeconcordtv.

John Kurtz tells the recent history of the activism that has gained international attention in Orlando.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=RfOAe-e9iCc

John Kurtz highlights the importance of media connection in civil disobedience activism and the role it played in Fully Informed Jury Association outreach with Julian Heicklen.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=cqxbBNfzWe8

John Kurtz gives advice on filming police and effective civil disobedience. He currently faces felony charges stemming from his New Year’s Day arrest while filming an Orlando officer brutalizing a handcuffed man.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZFLpKMOx7YY

Eddie Freeman speaks about the goals of his civil disobedience.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=_ZMUPtD5xoI

Will traveled to DC to participate in the Jefferson Dance Party after seeing the brutal arrests. He was among the last dancers to leave the memorial, and shares his story.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=MLAWRPsMUO4

Since last reporting on the situation in Orlando, the international hacktivist collective Anonymous has launched a campaign against certain city websites. Orlando Food Not Bombs has released a statement calling the cyberattacks counter-productive and urging more communication with the city from voices of reason. Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry remains in jail after being arrested on June 22 for trespassing in a public park. From the Orlando Sentinel:

http://orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-hackers-attack-orlando-20110628,0,3872452.story

The most recent count (6/29) puts the arrests to date for this ordinance at 26.

7/1/2011: In a courtroom restricted from the eternal eye of a videocamera, John Kurtz was found guilty of “resisting without violence”. It is strangely symbolic to convict a civil disobedient of non-violent resistance in a setting in which he was not legally committing civil disobedience. Kurtz’s “crime” was not disobeying a statute, but disobeying a badged man. The particular badged man who executed his arrest has a history of seizing individuals who have cameras, including a local network news cameraman. The video camera which recorded the night’s events was stolen by the police and destroyed, vanishing from Kurtz’s property while never having been submitted as evidence. Kurtz will serve a total of 30 days in Orange County jail, and be on probation for one year. Fortunately, he was not convicted of the felony charges and the potential six years in prison he was facing. Still, it is the shame of the state that they will cage this man for any period of time.

As a condition of John’s conviction, and an obvious attempt by the state to prevent copwatching, Belvin Perry ordered John stay at least 100 feet away from any police officer. Of course, Perry included a provision allowing state agents to approach him if they wish to. It’s unclear whether John would be required to run away. Perry has a history of making constitutionally questionable orders, as described two paragraphs down.

This piece written by Orlando attorney Jon Gutmacher raises some interesting questions about legal issues surrounding Florida’s poorly written “resisting arrest” statute:

http://www.floridafirearmslaw.com/Resisting-Arrest-Battery-On-An-Officer-Florida.html

Also in Orlando on 6/30, Mark Schmidter was arrested while handing out information on juror rights and responsibilities. Schmidter has been handing out fliers since September, but on January 31, robed-man Belvin Perry issued an order prohibiting such free speech. The order was successfully defied by Julian Heicklen and the Orlando crew, but it appears as though now the state feels comfortable in enforcing it.

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One Response to Activism and Arrests Panel at PorcFest 2011

  1. Pingback: PorcFest 2011 Civil Disobedience Panel

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