Man arrested for wearing Anonymous mask while peacefully sitting at a protest and charged with assault for wearing a safety pin on his shorts.
A man wearing an Anonymous mask, a symbol of the hacktivists fighting for justice, was arrested in Arizona while sitting peacefully during a hearing at the state Capitol regarding the suspected election fraud.
Bystanders and fellow protesters recorded the event as police approached the man, Jonathan McRae, who had the mask atop his head, not covering his face, and forcefully removed him from his seat. The crowd came to the aid of the man verbally, one man even reached for McRae despite inevitably being manhandled by police after, and the man remained silent the entire time.
The crowd continuously yelled, “Shame!” and “He didn’t do anything!” They explained that, “The guy that was chanting already left,” hoping to help the cops realize that they had the wrong man. The officers claimed in the police report that McRae was the man “yelling and causing a disturbance” and that they had already asked him to leave 4 times.
After forcing McRae onto the ground, the officers called for backup and several more officers arrived to force him off of the ground. McRae resisted by holding onto the seats in front of him but didn’t seem to react violently or speak.
He didn’t even flail when the officers begin to choke him. In the long version of a video that was taken, the officials at the hearing plead with the crowd and one official agreed that McRae had done nothing wrong.
McRae was the only one wearing a mask in the crowd and was one of dozens quietly protesting the hearing, and some say that it was because he had the mask on his head.
He was charged with criminal trespassing, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault of an officer. Criminal trespassing is an unjust charge because it was this man’s constitutional right to be there and peacefully protest, and if they were to consider it trespassing then they should have arrested everyone. The latter two charges would never have come up if they hadn’t begun to arrest him for supposedly trespassing, especially without informing him ahead of time of the charge against him.
The aggravated assault is perhaps the most ludicrous charge. When asked if he had any weapons on him, McRae responded “no.” When he was frisked, an officer was pricked with a safety pin that was pinned onto McRae’s shorts. The safety cover had apparently been removed, documents say, although it may be because the officers had just spent several minutes handling McRae roughly. Aggravated assault of an officer is a felony.
The hearing was to discuss the suspected election fraud that occurred last month during the Arizona primary. Voters in the state experienced waits that were five hours long, strange occurrences of registered Democrats not being on the list of Democrat voters, and the last voters casting their ballots hours after polls had closed with Clinton already being named the winner by news sites. Since Arizona has a closed primary, Independent voters or those who aren’t registered with a certain party aren’t able to cast votes that are included in the final count.
The protesters called for the resignation of Helen Purcell, the Maricopa County Recorder, a re-vote, and a new law that allows people to register to vote at the polling place. They also demanded that they be heard after the hearing had adjourned well before most of them had a chance to voice their experience.
After McRae was removed, one of the bystanders remarked, “You promised us if we were silent you wouldn’t remove us.”
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