When did Videotaping a Public Meeting Become a Crime

Shhh– American justice is broken and the only way to fix it is for Americans to start paying serious attention to what is going down. A case in point is the case of Mr. Gregory Koger, a paralegal for a Chicago law firm, a human rights activist, and a videographer. In November of 2009,  Mr. Koger was video taping at an open meeting of the Ethical Humanist Society  in Skokie when he was violently arrested (bruised and maced in the face while his hands were cuffed behind his back) by multiple Skokie police officers.  It seems that a few influential members of the Society were opposed to his recording the advertised speaker for that day making a brief statement, objecting to the fact that she had been disinvitated (censored) on short notice and letting everyone, who had come to hear her speak, know that she would be speaking at another venue nearby. These members had prearranged for the police presence and they accused  Mr. Koger of threatening them with bodily harm, criminal trespass, and resisting arrest.

In court, Mr. Koger was found guilty and the judge gave him an over-the-top sentence of nearly a year in prison, saying that he had chosen the path of violence and risked the safety of all those present at the meeting. Never mind that hundreds of important members of society had written letters of support, attesting to Mr. Koger's good character. And never mind that Mr. Koger's videotape put the lie to all the accusations and witnesses for the prosecution were changing their testimony on the fly. In fact, Mr. Koger had been welcomed into the meeting by the Society greeters and was within minutes of leaving for the alternate venue when he was arrested. For details about this outrageous case, including Mr. Koger's video, you can go to http://dropthecharges.net/ .

Mr. Koger has served 60 days of his sentence and has been released on bond, pending appeal. His appeal to the State Supreme Court was denied, because the video recording that was offered in evidence just sort of disappeared from the official Lower Court record and therefore, the Supreme Court refused to consider it as part of his defense. And Mr. Koger's well-supported petition for post-conviction relief appears to have been simply ignored by the Courts. This petition details how the prosecutor’s key witnesses changed their stories completely on the day before the trial, when they realized that the video Mr. Koger took of the events leading up to his arrest contradicted their original statements to the police.

Now, an obviously innocent Mr. Koger may be returned to jail at huge expense to him and to the taxpayers of Cook County. To avoid this outcome or, at the very least, to get Mr. Koger house arrest, his supporters are shining the light of public opinion on his case.  Dr. Antonio Martinez, a psychologist with the Institute for Survivors of Human Rights Abuse and co-founder of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, and Mr. Koger were on the Cliff Kelly Show (WVON 1690 AM) on July 11. They were also on World View (WBEZ 91.5 FM) with Jerome McDonnell on July 16. They will also be on the Michael Slate Show (KPFK Pacifica  Radio LA 90.7) at noon on July 19.

Mr. Koger's case will be heard on July 23, at the Cook County Court, Room 104, 5600 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL. A press conference, featuring Mr. Koger, Atty. Jed Stone, Atty. Mark Weinberg, Dr. Antonio Martinez, Father Bob Bossie, and others will be held at 1:00PM, half an hour prior to Mr. Koger's hearing. The public and media are encouraged to attend and help to bring some justice back to American justice.

The Ad Hoc Committee for Reason

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