This is what political persecution looks like.
Lee Percy Christian, known to his friends as Percy, was arrested last weekend in Phoenix, AZ after a peaceful Black Lives Matter march. He is in jail because he was peacefully exercising his first amendment right regarding the injustices that he’s seen within the policing system.
The peaceful demonstration happened on October 3, where hundreds of people gathered for Black Lives Matter. When headed home after the rally, the car he was in was pulled over. Then the police pulled him out of the vehicle at gunpoint and arrested on a charge of unlawful assembly. Since the arrest, police tacked on felony charges for hindering prosecution and rioting, related to another protest on August 9.
Here’s the thing though, there was no riot on August 9.
The definition of riot is “a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.” On August 9, protesters gathered in front of police headquarters to mourn the anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder (Ferguson, MO). There were barricades placed in front of police headquarters to prevent people from getting too close to the building. Protesters pushed over the barricade and walked past it. Here’s the thing:
1. Pushing over a barricade is not violent.
2. Phoenix police were in the wrong to place that barricade there in the first place since the police department is paid for by taxpayers and the protesters, as residents of Phoenix, are Phoenix taxpayers. So, the steps of that building, where the protesters walked to, is public space. 3. The First Amendment, in its very terms, protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” While, in 2020 we’ve seen a rise in police declaring peaceful protests, that doesn’t give mean they can infringe on people’s Constitutional rights. That is exactly what’s happening.
Maricopa County attorney’s office.
The Maricopa County attorney’s office has it within its power to stipulate a bond. However, they are refusing to do so, even though it’s clear they absolutely should. Christian hasn’t physically hurt anyone, he hasn’t destroyed any property, yet the Maricopa County DA is refusing to grant him a bond.
This is political persecution. Police have targeted Christian because of his political beliefs because they don’t like that he is a leader in the Phoenix Black Lives Matter movement. They don’t like how he speaks on the megaphone about racial injustices, police brutality, and systematic racism. Maricopa County has chosen to silence him by incarcerating him and not allow a bond.
This is America.
To put this situation into context. This week the man who murdered George Floyd, a white man, was able to bond out of jail. Yet, Lee Percy Christian, a black man who was only using his Constitutional rights, has been jailed without bond. Yeah, it’s like that.
Lee Percy Christian has spent his summer fighting for responsibility and moral fairness in the Phoenix justice system. For that, he is now in jail, without bond, for a non-violent crime, which most cops won’t even ticket for.
The irony of the matter is astounding. Phoenix and Maricopa County have done the exact thing to Christian as he has been fighting against. It’s like they ripped him out of that car this last weekend and said “fuck you, you can’t stop us.” This is undoubtedly and blatant authoritarianism. This is why the Revolution is happening. Enough is enough.
The system of white supremacy has to end. We, the people, have had enough. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” – Martin Luther King JR
You can help Percy by taking action right now and signing this petition. Not only that but make sure to share it with your friends. Make sure to follow Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to find new ways you can help. To learn more about Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, you can find their website HERE.