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Drop the charges, free the Justice 8!

By staff

Fight Back News Service is circulating following statement Centro CSO and CSO Orange County.

The Justice 8 also known as the “Victorville 8” are Chicano activists who defend street vendors and expose racist instigators across Southern California. They were unfairly targeted and arrested during an early morning raid on December 12. Law enforcement is calling it “Operation Accountability.” The raids were carried out by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, Pomona P.D., Fontana P.D., Upland P.D., and Victorville P.D. Each of the eight are facing 14 felony charges ranging from conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon, and kidnapping.

The eight have been held in jail over the holidays and denied bail by a judge during their arraignment on December 18. The Victorville courthouse deliberately denied courtroom information on where they were being held, making one of their attorneys late to the hearing. Their constitutional right to counsel was violated and the hearing proceeded without their attorney present.

Centro CSO and CSO Orange County stand in solidarity with the Justice 8 and demand authorities to Free the Eight! We call on the San Bernardino District Attorney Jason Anderson to grant bail and drop these outrageous charges!

It is clear that the authorities of San Bernardino county are attempting to criminalize the Eight’s First Amendment rights, their activities criticizing elected officials, and holding protests against the police. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has a long history of brutality and killing of Chicanos. Right-wing Sheriff Shannon Dicus announced the charges at a press conference, trying to paint the activists as terrorists and a danger to the public who make money from their social media platforms. We denounce Dicus’ attempts to character assassinate the eight and his false accusations.

We learned from the Tampa 5 and their successful campaign to have felony charges dropped that the state will use any means to intimidate and silence opposition through arrests and trumped-up charges. Protesting is not a crime and we must unite with the eight individuals facing heavy state repression for their activism and demand they are freed from jail.

District Attorney Jason Anderson, DROP THE CHARGES, FREE THE JUSTICE 8!

#OrangeCountyCA #VictorvilleCA #InJusticeSystem #PoliticalRepression #Justice8