Two Philly protesters acquitted of charges in Trump inauguration riots

By Jonathan Tamari, Washington Bureau @JonathanTamari | jtamari@phillynews.com

Camera icon EMILY COHEN
Police spray pepper spray into a line of photojounalists during clashes at a protest during the inauguration of Donald Trump January 20th 2017

WASHINGTON — For nearly a year, Philadelphians Jennifer Armento and Oliver Harris feared that their lives could be stained for joining an Inauguration Day protest against President Trump.
Encircled in a mass arrest that Jan. 20 morning after some people in their anti-fascist, anti-capitalist march smashed

windows and clashed with police blocks from the White House, the two were among nearly 200 charged with felonies — though prosecutors had no evidence they personally destroyed anything, encouraged anyone to do so, or aided the people who did.

On Thursday, Armento and Harris exhaled with relief: A jury found them not guilty, along with four co-defendants, of all charges in the first trial of those arrested that day. All faced felony counts for property damage and misdemeanors for rioting and conspiracy to riot.

Their nearly four-week trial in District of Columbia Superior Court was nationally watched as a test of the boundaries of free speech, and possibly a harbinger for the dozens of people, including several more from Philadelphia, awaiting trials on the same charges. First Amendment advocates worried that the sweeping prosecutions could chill protests.

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Source: The Inquirer online

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About Cholo Brooks 15375 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.