We are friends and family members of the “Cleveland 5,” the five young men from Cleveland who stand accused of trying to demolish a bridge, two of whom (Brandon Baxter and Connor Stevens) were regularly active with Cleveland Food Not Bombs. For this reason and because there seems to exist a pattern of the FBI targeting Food Not Bombs activists, we would request support from other Food Not Bombs groups, their friends, families, and other supporters.
We are working to support these young activists, in whatever ways they need. Thus far, what stands out as the most pivotal thing is that the boys need a good lawyer, who cares about the case, has relevant experience and is willing to go the extra mile. As it stands, they’re all being represented by public defenders, with varying degrees of interest in the case.
We have been in communication with a local attorney with an inspiring record of civil rights work, but to hire him, we need to raise $20,000 immediately.
We’re not going to lie — this is a desperate situation. The trial date is set for this September, only three months from now. This time frame will make building the case (reviewing evidence, making investigations, filing motions) incredibly challenging. Every day that we’re not able to hire a lawyer is a day closer to that deadline.
Our friends are being tried for charges that hold a maximum sentence of several lifetimes. The government is making a case in the media that these are dangerous anarchists, a word they equate with terrorism. However, many journalists have questioned the nature of the government’s investigation, suggesting that the FBI might be instigating actions, which they rope people into, rather than “catching people in the act.” We want to see our friends and family members go free, and believe that it is criminal for the the government to take them away from us, to use them as tools in their political theater.
A link to donations can be found through the website: cleveland5justice.org and www.wepay.com/donations/cleveland-5-justice-legal-fund
Thank you so much. A couple of these kids really believe they have a
chance, and are so brave and resilient right now. They are staying
positive and embracing their roles in this trial. it’s truly an
inspiration. The legal support group consists of people who hardly know
what we are doing, but are doing it because we know we must. Parents and friends
and activists. We desperately need help from the national community.