On June 1st 2009 Dave Mahoney, under pressure from US state repression, pled guilty to a single count of second degree assault.
The situation arose after sand bags where dropped from a bridge onto a closed highway off ramp during the Republican National Convention (RNC) protests last September. Dave Mahoney was arrested two days later and charged with aiding and abetting second degree assault and terroristic threats. Soon after the charges rose to three accounts of second degree assault and three terroristic threats, then finally a month before trial was due to start four more charges where added equaling 10 in total. It was not until a week before Dave was to face trial that the state made any plea offer. The offer was to plead guilty to one charge of assault and receive a 90 day caped sentence. Faced with the prospect of years in prison should the case go to trail Dave decided to take the deal and plead guilty to this bogus charge.
Video evidence shows the sandbag that the prosecution claims Dave was suppose to have thrown hit no one and landed on the road below the bridge. So with no victim how could this lead to an assault charge?
Over the week of protests surrounding the convention the police presence was worthy of the label of police state. Police agencies supplied officers to the RNC and $50 million in federal funds were allotted for security purposes. Police used this money to pay for 3500 police officers, 200 new tazers, $2 million in tear gas and pepper spray, and numerous new surveillance cameras all over St. Paul. Before the protests had even begun police where conducting raids on the houses of organisers, convergence spaces and even media. As the protests began police tear gassed, pepper sprayed, beat and fired rubber bullets at crowds while arresting over 800 people.
This sort of police repression needs justification through convictions. The state made outlandish remarks such as claiming the protests where “one of the most coordinated, orchestrated efforts in the history of this country to try to create chaos in a community, and to shut down political dialogue” and Dave was painted as a evil criminal with prosecutor Richard Dusterhoft called his case “by far the most serious RNC case I have”.
It was under these repressive conditions that Dave felt that he had no choice but to take the plea deal or otherwise risk a lengthy jail sentence.