Update on the "Halsted 3"

A new court date for three falsely accused defendants stemming from a scuffle during the 2004 Pride Parade has been announced.


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On June 27, 2004, a contingent of members of the Queer/Trans Caucus of the Chicagoland Anarchist Network (CAN) confronted a group of violent homophobes who, under the aegis of state representative Tony Lopez Cisneros’ participation – legally permitted by organizer Richard Pfeiffer – marched in the annual LGBTIQ Pride Parade. A scuffle ensued, and the violence escalated when Chicago Police Department officers sided with the homophobes and attacked the anarchists. Three members of the anarchist contingent – Robert Bernstein, Neal Rysdahl and Jeremy Hammond – were arrested. No homophobes were despite instigating the physical violence.
“Because of the history of extreme right-wing activity against queers – the black triangle for dykes and the pink triangle for gays used in Germany in the death camps – because of that history we shouldn’t be embarrassed about defending ourselves against right-wing hate, whether it’s from the Chicago Police Department or religious bigots,” Rysdahl said. “We didn’t do anything. We don’t have anything to be defensive about.”
The detainees were held for up to three days, with jail support held at the facility at Belmont and Western by fellow anarchists the entire time. “Once the three of us were taken to the police station, I was beaten,” Rysdahl said, “and I think there was the assumption that because I was the older one and the more experienced one that if they beat me up that would intimidate the younger ones…
“Plus, they sent word to their friends at Cook County Jail where we were eventually processed they asked some of the county sheriffs that they knew if they would help us ‘feel welcome.’ They said there are three queer anarchists on their way there from the gay pride parade…so of course when we got over there they beat the shit out of me again.”
The next court date is set for March 24th, when the trial dates are expected to be announced. The defendants hope to arrange a press conference and rally to be held at the detention facility at 26th and California at that time.

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