Home Latest Statehood Activist Keith Silver Acquitted
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http://dcist.com/2011/11/dc_voting_rights_protester_acquitte.php

Arrested D.C. Voting Rights Protester Acquitted

Keith Silver, a Ward 6 ANC commissioner who was arrested during an April 18 D.C. voting rights [statehood] protest on Capitol Hill, was found not guilty of a single charge of failing to obey a lawful order this afternoon.

During a trial that stretched over the course of 90 minutes, prosecutors and the defense argued over whether Silver was properly charged for standing in Constitution Avenue during rush hour that day. Prosecutors insisted that blocking traffic was not only an offense, but also a common sense violation; the defense argued that under D.C. law at the time, Silver's lone-man protest would not qualify as an arrestable offense.

Additionally, defense lawyer Johnny Barnes argued, police and prosecutors were unclear about what lawful order they were asking Silver to obey. According to Barnes, Silver was under no obligation to obey an order that he saw as unlawful.

The prosecution's case may ultimately have sunk when the arresting officer from the U.S. Capitol Police identified Barnes as the man he had arrested, instead of Silver. Noting that he would have to rule on a fact that would be unclear to an outside observer, Judge Frederick Sullivan found Silver not guilty.

Silver was arrested shortly after Mayor Vince Gray and 40 other protesters were detained during a protest on April 11; all told, some 72 people have been arrested fighting for D.C. voting rights and statehood. In September, charges against Bart Turner, who was arrested on the same day as Silver but during a separate demonstration, were dropped.

Eight remaining voting rights protesters are set to go on trial in mid-November.

By Martin Austermuhle in News on November 2, 2011 4:45 PM

 

 

 
Home Latest Statehood Activist Keith Silver Acquitted

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