OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Democratic Party spoke out Thursday afternoon against charges of terrorism placed on three protesters by the Oklahoma County district attorney, who is also a Democrat.
“It seems that DA prater has a rating scale of whose lives are worth protecting and whose lives are insignificant,” said Alicia Andrews, chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
The three protestors, Israel Ortiz, Eric Ruffin and Malachai Davis are all sitting inside the Oklahoma County Detention Center. The Oklahoma district attorney dropped the hammer, charging all three of them with terrorism in the chaos that erupted into riots on May 30. According to court documents, a live-streamed video showed three rioters allegedly breaking the front glass of a business before setting it on fire.
“I absolutely do not condone vandalism or destruction of property under any respect,” Andrews said. “Reduce the charges from terrorism to something more aligned with the alleged crime and appropriate bail.”
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater released the following statement earlier in the week.
“It is concerning and bewildering that this organization has chosen to defend criminals who are violent, exploitive and unscrupulous. These criminals have subverted peaceful protests and impaired the open discussion regarding race in our country. These criminals are diabolic and strategic in their use of tactics historically employed by terrorists throughout the world; namely, targeting innocent citizens with violence and the threat of violence, intimidation, the dissemination of propaganda to disrupt societal and communal relationships and using peaceful protestors as human shields. When you employ these tactics for a political purpose, you are a terrorist.No individual or organization will intimidate me or law enforcement from protecting those we serve by aggressively enforcing and prosecuting the law. When you act like a terrorist, you will be treated like a terrorist. All innocent citizens of Oklahoma County deserve to be protected. The citizens of Oklahoma County have a legal and constitutional right to personal safety and the protection of their property. It is my job to protect innocent citizens and their property and I will continue to do it to the best of my ability.”Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater
“We know what terrorism looks like in Oklahoma. We’re blocks away from one of the worst terrorist incidents in our nation’s history,” Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma’s Executive Director, said, referencing the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building. “These charges are ridiculous, they’re ludicrous and they are out of line.”
Kiesel is a former Democratic lawmaker in the State Legislature. He said he is accusing the district attorney of over-charging the protesters. He said they’re also being held behind bars on excessive bail.
“That guarantees that they sit in the Oklahoma County Jail for weeks, if not months, before they ever have their first day in court,” Kiesel said.
Andrews said they are also standing for the “other dozen young activists being held on excessive bond from $200,000 to $1,000,000.” Andrews also mentioned Christian Council. He was a gay realtor who was beaten up in a parking lot.
“His attackers on the other hand were protected,” she said. “They beat a man while shouting homophobic slurs, and will at most have a misdemeanor record.”
Kiesel and Andrews came together to say that they feel the charges placed on the three protesters are an attempt to silence those speaking out against brutality.
“Those extraordinary, exceptional charges are clearly meant to send a signal and a message to future protesters,” Kiesel said.
“’Use your First Amendment right in a way that we don’t like, and we will ruin your future,’” Andrews said.
According to Kiesel, the ACLU is weighing all legal options right now in regard to helping the people in the jail.
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