Wed., January 23, 2013, Tacoma—Jurors in the Backpack Six trial returned verdicts siding with the City of Tacoma. The jury was composed of 8 people (all of whom were white). Out of the original jury pool of 33 people, only one person was identifiable as a person of color, and that person was passed over because he was gung-ho pro-military.
The City Defense Attorney, Jean Holman, used argument to personally attack the character and motivations of the protesters. The City’s defense basically rested upon the assertion that the police were fulfilling a legitimate public safety function when they instituted a policy prohibiting back-packs at random periods during the March 2007 protests.
Plaintiffs argued that the backpack rule did nothing to actually protect people, but instead served to discourage protests, by increasing the difficulty with which protesters could bring food and water and other peaceable supplies to their assembly. They were gathered in opposition to what they understood to be an unlawful military operation.
—WIP News Service
Ed. note: For coverage of the trial’s first day, go to www.olywip.org/content/protesters-arrested-wearing-backpacks-sue-city-tacoma.