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May Day demonstrator acquitted of bogus obstruction charge

A man who was peacefully protesting during Seattle’s 2013 May Day demonstration has been acquitted of a charge that he obstructed police. Justin Gonzalez was arrested after officers in riot gear forcefully shoved and hit him several times on May 1, 2013. 

Police gave Mr. Gonzalez no opportunity to walk away, shoving him backward for 100 feet — even as he tried to walk backward, himself. At one point, he was shoved into another police officer, then forced to the ground and arrested.

“We are pleased that the jury supported Mr. Gonzalez’s constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of assembly,” said attorney Kenan Isitt.

Mr. Gonzalez’s arrest came a month after an independent report criticized the Seattle Police Department’s planning for the 2012 May Day protests, citing confusion over who was in charge and when they could use force to thwart violence.

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