On November 14th 2010, Dan Choi chained himself to the White House fence alongside twelve other Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell protestors. Today Choi is the only one who opted to face federal charges in court for that protest. But grab your popcorn, kiddies because the defense has an excellent case, part of which says that the U.S. Department of Interior told police to press federal charges against the protestors THREE HOURS BEFORE their protest even started.
Y’see most White House protestors get off with an arrest and a $100 to $1,000 fine, but if found guilty, the feds could give Choi to six months in jail. However, Metro Weekly notes that Choi’s legal team has several defenses at their disposal:
1) The U.S. Park Police allegedly gave the protestors three warnings to “get off the sidewalk” or face arrest. But the protestors were standing on the fence ledge and were technically not on the sidewalk, and did not disobey police orders.
2) Along with “the chants of protestors, the sounds of the crowd watching the arrest, and a few other people on bullhorns,” Choi “also has hearing loss from his duty in Iraq [and] would have had difficulty hearing the police warnings.”
3) “There’s no indication that Choi’s conduct posed a threat to others, obstructed traffic or prevented emergency responders from doing their job, which would be required for his conduct to be considered ‘disorderly.’”
4) Police arrested no one when a large crowd gathered in front of the White House to celebrate the May 1, 2011 killing of Osama Bin Laden. Choi remarked, “Selective enforcement of regulations based on political or electoral profitability turns our honorable Park Police officers into nothing more than the armed political henchmen in third world countries. I believe a high ranking politician decided to ignore one gathering and federally prosecute another.”
And lastly, Lieutenant LaChance of the Park Police said that Solicitor Randolph Myers of the Department of Interior advised him to press federal charges against the DADT protesters three hours before they began protesting.
Personally, we think that if the federal government wants to imprison an ex-Iraq War veteran for protesting against a law that the government, the president, and the majority of the American public oppose, they’ve lost their minds.