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.
The most dangerous place to stand is between Dan Choi and a camera.
Cue all the HRC-bots to come in here attack Choi and try to say that having a cocktail party and never saying a word about gay rights is somehow much better than somebody protesting, whether you like their tactics or not.
Of COURSE HRC hates him. When you’re doing nothing and somebody else does something it never looks good.
Oh, and as for Chip……Yeah, considering that the larger gay organizations are constantly having events with Hollywood celebs, to try to insult another activist by claiming they want attention is a bit of pot and kettle don’t you think?
Oh so we’re HRC-bots now? What happened to Obama-bots?
Brother Choi, I’m with you. I hope you make it out of this alive.
@pithyscreenname: Funny, I was under the impression that they were the exact same thing.
He’s a hero. He’s so brave. Let the veteran go free!
Are his hands tied to the fence? He looks like a fool.
No doubt he’s got Rachel Maddox’s people on speed dial trying to get himself booked for tonight’s show.
@Chip: I don’t get it. Are you saying Dan Choi wants publicity? I thought he was just standing up for his rights as a serviceman, because that’s what he is, a serviceman. He doesn’t service cars, and he doesn’t service appliances, he services the country, when we go to war. That’s the most important job there is, and this brave man shed his blood that we might live a little more freely. I think that’s worth celebrating.
@Spike: What a sick joke. Rachel isn’t in a position to help anyone anywhere.
Wow. A lot of Dan Choi haters out there… or at least one guy with several usernames who needs to get a life!
Can someone tell me how Dan Choi has profited off of his actions? I’m assuming he gets compensated for his travel and lodging when he does television appearances or fundraisers. But so does any number of pundits and A-list stars whose investment in our affairs is a cause celebre.
Here we have a gay man who speaks well, makes coherent points, and carries a message that is hard to beat down. On top of that, the man speaks from the highest levels of credibility: A West Point grad and an Iraq War veteran. Aside from Congresspersons Frank and Baldwin (I might be missing one or two others), there is not a single other “spokesperson” for our rights that can come close to claiming that sort of credibility.
Neil Patrick Harris is too rich. Can’t get married in CA? Fly to NY. Or to Europe. Pay the thousands upon thousands of dollars to adopt your beautiful children. Insulate your life and speak out for us when it is convenient between acting gigs.
Joe Solemnese Yeah… I don’t even have to mention this “professional” activist, do I?
Lady Gaga? Unless she really is trans or a closeted lesbian, her interest in the matter carry a lesser personal role. At its basest, she can only sympathize with and pander to her fans.
And then there’s Dan Choi. Maybe he intends to make permanent his activist job. Maybe he intends to turn it into a lucrative career. But at this moment, it’s not. The guy’s income is nowhere near where it would be if he simply used his brains and talents in the private sector. A West Point grad easily fetches an income in the six figures.
In any even, when this battle is over, Dan Choi will do what any good soldier who’s served has done: He will retire from the field, lay down his gun and pick up his plough, and live a quiet, normal American life. He’ll have with him a heap of thanks far less than his service deserves to receive.
So shut the fuck up and let the man continue his crusade. If you can do better, get your ass on the fence with him.
@TommyOC: “In any even, when this battle is over, Dan Choi will do what any good soldier who’s served has done: He will retire from the field, lay down his gun and pick up his plough, and live a quiet, normal American life.”
Or he’ll pick up a gun and go on a violent rampage, like that navy officer in the news a few weeks back, who turned into a serial killer when he got home.
Dan Choi is cool.
No matter what he does to resist unfair, illegal, and immoral anti-gay laws,
some loudmouth nitwits are going to find minor faults with him. In the grand scheme of things, he’s doing all the right stuff to get public attention focused on egregious injustices.
So, yes, Dan Choi is my hero.
I was reading over the defenses, and the second one is the most flimsy. I mean, come on. It’s a good thing the other four are so strong.
Congratulations, President Obama. Now you’re prosecuting DADT’s “Rosa Parks.”
What a tone-deaf fucking moron this president has turned out to be.
I don’t even think GWB would be this stupid.
Christ, what an asshole.
@the crustybastard: Some gays aren’t too cool about Choi either, though. Unfairly, I think. There’s a parallel, here, maybe, because later on even Rosa Parks was brutally mugged and beaten by her own people and forced to move out of her neighborhood.
I’m sorry my fellow gay folk, but I’ve never been a fan of Choi.
The first two will be laughed out of court, 3 is solid, 4 is iffy but well-founded. If he wins, it will be because he wasn’t actually being disorderly as opposed to not “technically” being on the sidewalk. Some people need to learn about the “reasonable person” test that you see everywhere.
Yes, and then as now there was no shortage of self-styled liberals complaining about civil-rights protesters engaging in “direct action.”
Nothing changes but the weather.
There is but one question to be decided in this case: does a citizen have a Constitutional right to engage in peaceful protests outside the White House?
If the Westboro Baptists possess a Constitutional right to “protest” (religiously harangue private people) at funerals, entertainments, malls, disaster sites, etc., how could a court not find citizens possess at least the same right when engaged in an actual political protest directed towards an actual government official and policy-maker?
Then again, Lt. Choi is gay and this is America, meaning the court is likely to find some reason the Constitution doesn’t apply to him.
THIS DUDE NEEDS TO GET OVER HIMSELF A BIT..
When I look at that pic, I keep imagining him shouting the words “FREEDOM.” All he needs is some blue face paint and he’s good to go.
I’m amazed, as the Pixies said.
Your civic center is not your civic center, cause, of couse, traffic is more important?
Wheres your civic dignity? People should be able to celebrate, protest, cry and show things in your civic center, that’s what it is for, not just the house and offices of the president.
I’m not surprised the HRC astroturfers and the Obamabots hate him. He reveals them for the fools they are. They know that once we are equal, they’re out of a job because they lack the gift for colorful invective that distinguish Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. That’s why they want to drag this fight on forever. And as much as I hate false accusations of racism I doubt that an Aryan muscle god doing the exact same thing would face the same invective.
I, for one, am not going to wait another 40 years to be a first class citizen of my own country. We must use any tactics that are necessary to enforce what was ostensibly self-evident 235 years ago: that all men are created equal.
Barack Hydrox Obama and his good ol’ boy network is no different from Rick Fairy and the Kraut Breeder Bitch. They belong to different parties but they’re all Dixiecrats at heart.
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