Free Speech gets taken to court
Posted by Thomas Gordon on February 29, 2012
Sam Aresheh was scheduled to make an appearance in court this morning to answer to charges being pursued by the City Attorney of Santa Ana.
What’s his crime?
Speaking up for what he believed in.
According to news reports Mr Aresheh was arrested for violating Santa Ana’s anti camping ordinance. Mr Aresheh was participating in the Occupy OC demonstration in the Santa Ana Civic Center and had erected a tent to escape the elements. He was warned that he would be be arrested and according to news reports from the scene, he and three others were surrounded by roughly 20 police officers and six police cars, including a crime scene investigation van and officers on horseback.
At the time of the arrest Santa Ana was teetering on the brink of insolvency yet somehow mustered up the resources to arrest, jail, criminally charge and pursue a court case against those arrested.
Three of those arrested accepted a plea deal from the Santa Ana City Attorney, while Mr Aresheh decided to face judge and jury.
To add insult to injury, the Santa Ana City Council took action to support the mission and goals of the Occupy movement and to recognize its right to the peaceful and lawful exercise of its First Amendment rights. I’m not in agreement with the message of Occupy, but I’ll always defend their right to free speech in a peaceful manner.
Councilmember Vincent Sarmiento requested that the Santa Ana City Attorney up the resolution and stated “We know that this city, in particular, is part of the 99 percent”
Councilmember Sal Tinajero stated that he and his son had visited Occupy NY and stated that “there is a tremendous amount of money and influence that goes into our government and that the occupiers see that there is a possibility that our democracy could get away from us”
Maybe they should talk to Interim City Attorney Joe Straka about dismissing all charges in the interest of our democracy and the First Amendment.