Brooklyn Boro

DA candidate Fliedner says new bureau needed to protect protesters

August 29, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn DA candidate Marc Fliedner wants to see more done to protect the rights of protesters. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese.
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As protesting has become the norm across the country, Marc Fliedner, a candidate for district attorney in Brooklyn, thinks more needs to be done to protect the rights of protestors.

“Immediately after Trump’s election and before his inauguration, I saw the need for protection of those who may be wrongfully arrested and charged by police while engaging in acts of organized civil disobedience,” Fliedner said in a statement.

“The need for such case review became frighteningly clear this weekend, when Trump tried to direct attention away from the vile hate plan of the white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville by suggesting that the counter-protesters bore responsibility that resulted in the bloodshed,” Fliedner went on to say.

Fliedner’s plan, which he proposes to put into place if elected, would be to create a new segment within the DA’s Office called the Civil Disobedience Case Review Bureau.

The new bureau would respond when arrests are made during protests to determine whether the arrest charges are appropriate. Under the plan, if a person was determined to be overcharged, they would be released before criminal charges are pressed.

Fliedner also proposed that any complaints of misconduct charged against police before, during and after civil disobedience arrests would be investigated by the Law Enforcement Complaint Investigations Bureau. Fliedner added that he would not hesitate to charge police caught violating rights.

“My great concern about potential abuses of those asserting their First Amendment right to protest comes from a personal place: A dear family friend was arrested at Disrupt J20, roughed up by D.C. police and then egregiously overcharged by federal prosecutors,” Fliedner said.

“Her time in the system, and her fight for a fair plea disposition in the months since, subjected her to trauma the impacts of which will undoubtedly linger,” he continued. “And the clear message potentially sent by overzealous ‘anti-march’ statutes and aggressive law enforcement action when they are allegedly violated? Stay home, stay silent, shut up.”

There are currently six people running for district attorney in Brooklyn — Acting DA Eric Gonzalez, Fliedner, Anne Swern, Ama Dwimoh, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Patricia Gatling. Since all six are Democrats, the race will effectively be decided during the primary on Sept. 12.

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