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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
SO LET'S GET GOING AND GET DOWN TO WORK.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email Oren at
Mike Pacifico for the May 4 Detainee Legal Defense Fund.
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