• NOT ONE MORE DAY IN JAIL!
• WE SUPPORT GREGORY KOGER AND OPPOSE THIS WRONGFUL CONVICTION.
Sign the above statement and add your own comments, here.
The Illinois Supreme Court has refused to hear Gregory Koger’s appeal of the vindictive conviction and outrageous sentence that were inflicted on him for peacefully videotaping a statement against censorship at the “Ethical” Humanist Society of Chicago almost three years ago on November 1, 2009. And now the State’s Attorney has filed a motion to revoke Gregory’s bail and send him back to jail immediately.
What does this mean? It means that the court’s dangerous interpretation of the Illinois trespass statute is affirmed and is now a threat to everyone who records protests and the actions of the police. It means that the court’s vindictive sentence of 300 days is affirmed, punishing a former prisoner for standing up to injustice and oppression. And by moving immediately to revoke Gregory’s bond, the State is continuing its ruthless persecution.
What has Gregory been doing with his life in the years since he was arrested for using an iPhone at the EHSC? In addition to his employment as a paralegal at a Chicago law firm, Gregory has continued to dedicate his life to the struggle against all forms of injustice. He has been invited to speak at universities, including Columbia College and Roosevelt University in Chicago, about mass incarceration and torture in U.S. prisons. He has spoken to students in high schools about police brutality, torture, and wars for empire. He has attended rallies against police brutality and murder, spoken on panels about the issues involved in his own case and the rights of prisoners around the country, and he spoke before the Chicago City Council in January in support of a declaration naming Chicago a torture-free city — to name just a few of his many beneficial and constructive activities.
Gregory should not be forced to spend even one more day in jail! He committed no crime – in fact, the police brutalized him. Videotaping is not a crime, and taking pictures is not the same as trespassing. Gregory has become a productive member of society who deserves appreciation, not punishment.
Gregory’s lawyers will file a motion to oppose revocation of bond. If that fails and Gregory is ordered to report to jail, we call on all of you to join us at the Cook County Courthouse in Skokie, IL [and at the Cook County Jail] to protest and show support for Gregory. We must put them on notice that we are standing with Gregory.
Gregory sends his most sincere thanks to everyone who has supported him in the course of this struggle, and he wants people to know that:
“My case shows quite clearly how the legal system in this country operates:
• Evidence that exposes the lies of State witnesses was barred from the jury, and video evidence shown in open court multiple times was barred from the appellate court.
• The judge imposed a sentence based on ‘facts’ that were never even alleged by any witness, when she claimed that I ‘chose a path of violence’ after being convicted of what are categorized as non-violent misdemeanors, and she then sentenced me to nearly double the maximum allowable sentence for criminal trespass.
• The judge barred any mention to the jury of the events that led to the peaceful protest against censorship on November 1, 2009. But these events showed up within the first few sentences of the appellate court’s decision.
“These outrages happened in a political prosecution in my case, but they happen on a daily basis to millions of people herded through the courts into the United States’ historically unprecedented system of mass incarceration. Our struggle to defeat these charges has been a small part of the broader struggle against this oppressive system that inflicts monumental suffering on the people, here and around the world.
“My life will continue to be dedicated to that end, whether I’m talking with students in inner-city high schools who face police brutality and repression every day, university students from more privileged backgrounds who are beginning to learn about how this system operates, or whether I am in jail learning from and organizing with other brothers locked down there. I will continue to build a movement to end all of these injustices and bring forth a world where everybody can live a life worthy of human beings and flourish in ways undreamed of under this system.”