An Update on a Grand Jury Resister
BY SOLIDARITY WITH STEVE
It saddens us to announce that the grand jury investigation has received a six-month extension and will most likely conclude on March 4, 2014. During the past six months, there has been little news as to the current status or extent of the investigation and subsequent repression. The only news has been what has already been stated, the grand jury will continue.
Steve is still struggling against the grand jury. He is adjusting to life in a new city surrounded by good friends who are both inspiring and supportive. However, in the past week, Steve has been experiencing multiple instances of police harassment; harassment to the degree he has not experienced before.
About two weeks ago at one in the morning, while walking to the corner store, Steve was approached by two local police officers who screamed his name and threw him against their car and into the backseat. After several minutes of questions and insults, in which Steve remained silent, the car drove with Steve out of the parking lot. The drive lasted an hour while the two cops continued to insult and harass Steve. The harassment and verbal abuse was both common insults and questions around his forced exile outside of the United States. The cops went as far as to insult him, stating that they would beat him and leave him out where no one could find him. Eventually, the police stopped the car in an industrial park on the outskirts of the city. They then removed Steve from the car and stole his cellphone, jacket, shoes, and emptied his wallet of personal items and money. The cops then left him there. Thankfully, Steve was able to contact friends who later came and took him back home.
Unfortunately, only a few days after that incident, the cops returned to harass him. Steve was riding his bike home from a friend’s house when he realized he was being followed by a cop car. The cops in the car began to shout his name and ask him to “go for another walk.” Steve ignored them but the cops continued on his trail. Eventually, the cops chose to drive onto the bicycle path and follow behind Steve. At this point, Steve was able to cross through another area and escape his harassers. Again, Steve’s friends were able to retrieve him and take him safely back home.
Four days later, Steve was targeted again. While walking to the store near his house, Steve was stopped by two police officers and placed in the back of a patrol car. He was brought to a parking lot a half hour away and was kept in the back of the car for three hours until an unknown man, identifying himself as a detective, came into the parking lot and talked to Steve. The man told Steve that though he does have current legal status in the country he is residing in, the FBI is currently working to have that status revoked. The man also told Steve that if he does not return to the United States and testify before the Grand Jury, his life will become a living hell and that the FBI does not deal well when they do not get what they want. He suggested that Steve make contact with the FBI agents who want to talk to him but said the decision to do that is ultimately up to him. After the man left, Steve was dropped off in a mall parking lot on the outskirts of the city. He was able to have friends pick him up and take him back home again.
This recent harassment has led to Steve feeling more concerned about his already precarious situation. Although he does have legal status, he does not feel stable in his situation and is currently seeking counsel from immigration lawyers. At this point, he is entirely uncertain of whether or not he will be able to stay in his new city, or whether he once again must leave and travel somewhere new.
Steve has been been very grateful and appreciative of the donations offered thus far and continues to do whatever he can to supplement his income where he currently is. However, with the upcoming potential of legal and/or relocation costs, Steve’s economic situation has only become more unstable and stressful with this recent wave of intense harassment.
We ask that you donate whatever you can to help Steve. Please support Steve and the rejection of the grand jury investigation against anarchists. Take a moment of your time and resources to show your solidarity with Steve and let him know he is never alone!
A brief rundown:
In late July of 2012, our friend Steve received a phone call from a man identifying himself as a FBI agent. He was told that a subpoena had been issued for him to appear before a federal Grand Jury investigating the vandalism of the Kenzo Nakamura Court of Appeals. This phone call happened in conjunction with three other people being served subpoenas in Olympia and Portland, as well as house raids in Portland. Although Steve is a known anarchist in the Northwest, who has been subjected to state harassment before, up until this moment he has not been served or indicated as a suspect of the ongoing Grand Jury investigation targeting anarchists.
His life has been severely impacted by the course of events. He has made the choice to leave his former life behind in order to resist the Grand Jury on his own terms. This means that Steve has gone without face-to-face contact with his family, friends, and loved ones for many months.
The investigation and subsequent repression is still very much alive even though former prisoners Maddy, Matt and Kteeo are now out of prison. The potential for criminal indictments remains a real possibility. Also, the effects of imprisonment and future threats of going back to prison, which could happen if any of the three are charged with criminal contempt, are not something that ends once one has left the prison walls behind.