This is an update sent to local Northeast Ohio ListServs.
Please feel free to copy and circulate in your area.


May 4, 2003 Detainee Update

As of June 20, 2003 three detainees have had their charges resolved.

The charges against Mike Pacifico were dropped in the moments before his trial was to begin (at the request of the prosecution-no deals were made) and the jury returned a not guilty verdict in the trial of Art McCoy.

The jury returned a guilty verdict in Troy Gregorino's trial. Troy's verdict WILL be appealed both on constitutional grounds and on the basis that the State did not prove the crime charged.

The next detainee will not go on trial before July 21, 2003.


It is unfortunate, but a reality, that the wheels of justice require money. Troy Gregarino's conviction must be appealed. The right to protest is under attack and the tactics used by the Kent Police Departments must not be left unchallenged so as to become accepted public policy. However, an appeal will significantly raise the cost of our defense efforts.

Only two of the May 4, 2003 detainees are from Kent and we are doing what we can in our area to raise funds. However, this will not be enough given the magnitude of the challenge we face. I do believe there are 3 detainees that reside in Athens and it is my understanding that the Athens community of activists would get behind us and help us to fundraise.

Also there are many Kent State Antiwar Committee Students who have left town for the summer and should be able to help us wherever they are. Although no current students were arrested on May 4 (quite a few of us detainees are KSU graduates or former students), this fall will bring renewed antiwar activism on campus and in the city and we need to work together and deal with this police repression together.

Here are some suggestions: (But please do not limit your endeavors to these suggestions. Be creative and let us know what you are doing in your areas.)

1. Organize a fundraising benefit concert. Kent and Cleveland are already in this process. (More on this below.)

2. Contact progressive faculty at your local and regional universities and ask them to hold a fundraising event such as a cocktail party or barbecue, etc., where guests would be urged to donate.

3. Put the appeal online. Contact indymedia sites and tell them what happened on May 4 this year and put in an appeal for help. Contact other appropriate websites and do the same.

4. When a progressive event occurs in your community go to it and ask to make an announcement and ask to be able to "pass the hat" for the defense fund.

KENT STATE, MAY 4, 1970 is symbolic of the struggle to preserve our right to free speech on OUR campuses, in OUR cities and throughout OUR country. Days before the tragic murders of the 4 students at Kent State, students buried a copy of the constitution to show their opposition to the unconstitutional war in Vietnam and its expansion into Cambodia. At that time, James Peach, now the Chief of Police in the city of Kent and the architect of this years police disturbance was an undercover cop for Kent State University. Prior to his employment at Kent State he was in the military in Germany where he had extensive "experience in crowd control and riot training" in response to antiwar protests in that country. John Peach his twin brother, and chief of police at Kent State University was also a member of the university police force since the 60s. (A few years back John tried to introduce automatic weapons/machine guns to his arsenal of weapons on campus. Cooler heads prevailed an that plan was nixed.)

On May 4, 2003 both of these men coordinated the police disturbance from a warehouse on the opposite side of the university where the march occurred. After the marchers moved off of Main Street they were chased around campus ending up in Prentice Parking Lot where the 4 students were murdered on May 4, 1970. At this point they were confronted by the police and ordered to disperse from this most sacred ground. One protestor refused to move and was arrested while sitting on the site where one of the 4 died. He was subsequently charged with criminal trespass. This arrest, on the spot where these ghastly murders occurred 33 years ago that very day is an insult to the memory of the four murdered students and to the constitution of the United States which guarantees ones right to protest.

The type of police activity that occurred on May 4, 2003 in Kent is not a local isolated incident. Such preemption of the right to assemble peaceably has become more and more common on our campuses and in cities across the nation in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. The most brutal example of this occurred in Oakland where police fired wooden bullets (without provocation) into a crowd of unarmed and peaceful antiwar protesters. A few weeks ago in Saint Louis police raided the headquarters of an antiglobilization organization on the pretext that they were planning to break the law at an upcoming protest (arrests were made). A rally scheduled in NYC on May 4, 2003 was denied a march permit by the local authorities citing unproven charges that the protest would lead to violence.

Indeed, James Peach cited such a justification for his actions on May 4, 2003 in his testimony at Troy Gregarino's trial. He testified that he based his activities on websites of activist groups and contact with police officials in San Francisco, Oakland, Washington D.C. and Dayton (???). He alleged in his testimony that the "intelligence" he received from these police departments and what he read on these websites justified his actions. Peach has never stated that he had any hard evidence that anyone was actually planning violence at Kent State, only that it followed an alleged pattern based on his communications with other law enforcement jurisdictions. Imagine that!

Challenging this assault on our basic freedoms from Kent, Ohio will hopefully incite the passions of those who remember the murders of May 4, 1970 and see that moment in time as a vital and important part of the history of the struggle for all our freedoms. A victory in Kent will go a long way to inspire others to continue or take up this struggle in their communities.


The address for mailing donations is
May 4th Detainee Legal Defense Fund
611 West Market Street
Akron, OH 44303

For more information email Mike at or Dan at or call Mike at 330 678-3807

For those who want to help with the Cleveland Benefit contact Mary at 330 678-1857 (evenings and more accessible), email her at or email Oren at

Mike Pacifico for the May 4 Detainee Legal Defense Fund.

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