Corey Williams of Occupy Austin traveled to Houston today with some defendants in the Gulf Port 7 trial. His Twitter feed (@iamed_nc) suggests a tense court room situation, but lawyers ultimately agreed on a deal. Under the plea bargain, all seven defendants will accept the Class B Misdemeanor charge of Obstructing A Roadway. This is the same charge faced by the other participants in the Gulf Port Blockade on December 12, 2011 who did not use the lock box devices.
Previously, the seven defendants faced a charge of Manufacture or Use of a Criminal Device, a state felony that included serious jail time. Additionally, the court commuted the group’s sentences to time served, covering the need for future jail time or paying court costs. The decision is a relief, especially as the case’s sympathetic judge was due to be replaced by a more conservative Rick Perry appointee due to impending retirement.
The arrests occurred during a national day of action at the ports against Goldman-Sachs, organized by Occupy Oakland. The Gulf Port 7 made use of PVC-pipe devices called lock boxes, also known as sleeping dragons, to link their arms together. During the trial, it was revealed that the lock boxes were constructed by three undercover Austin Police Department officers assigned to infiltrate Occupy Austin. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo continues to insist that this was done “for safety” rather than a deliberate act of provocation and entrapment.
Defendant Ronnie Garza told Firedoglake,
We won. We got the charges we originally were expecting and we got 400 pages of emails, texts and embarrassing photos along with the names of 3 undercover officers. We also found the role the fusion centers played in all of this. All that is left is to reveal the name of a fourth undercover we recently found.
According to Ronnie, now that the court case is over the emails and texts released during pre-trial will be released to journalists and the public after the redaction of some sensitive personal details of the named activists.
One of the seven, Eric Marquez, is still imprisoned in the Dallas area, and may face as much as another year in jail, but Corey told @OccupyAustin he hoped this decision makes his situation “a little easier.”
More on Firedoglake about the Gulf Port 7 Case and Austin Police Infiltration
- Remington Alessi of the Gulf Port 7 on facing a felony charge
- Undercover Austin Narcotics Officers Enabled Houston Felonies
- Judge Joan Campbell Is Not Amused With Undercover Detective Shannon Dowell
- Austin Police Coordinated with Houston Through Fusion Center
- 2 More Undercover Officers Revealed
- D12 Gulf Port Action: One Year Later
I’ll continue to update Firedoglake on future developments in this case.