Free David Campbell

One of our interviewees from Season 1, David Campbell, who you heard in our jail support episode, is being unjustly imprisoned. For more on David’s case and how to support him, go to FreeDavidCampbell.com

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Check our Write A Letter episode for more on letter writing and prisoner solidarity. Also, check out our Jail Support episode, the episode in which David’s interview was originally released.

This podcast is part of the Channel Zero Network, an anarchist podcast network run by radical media makers.

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Welcome to Rebel Steps. I’m your host Liz.

Amy and I are still hard at work on season 2. We plan to start releasing it in January 2020. For right now, we have an important update.

One of our interviewees from Season 1, David Campbell, who you heard in our jail support episode, is being unjustly imprisoned. His case is related to events that unfolded at the protest of an alt-right event in January 2018. At this protest, a police officer tackled David, breaking David’s leg in two places. The officier then alleged that David had stalked, punched, and strangled an alt-right party attendee, and then tried to strangle the officer himself. These charges were dropped after surveillance footage failed to back up any of them up. But they were replaced with the vague charge of Gang Assault. David took a non-cooperating plea for a sentence of 18 months in a local facility to avoid a trial and a much longer sentence far from his friends and family. The sentencing was this past Wednesday so he’s just started his time.

This may seem like an outlandish story to many people. If the original charges were dropped, why did this case go this way? Because David was injured, it feels to me like the police were trying to justify their brutal handling of the situation and so they could not drop all charges. That’s the best I can do to understand it.

Please consider supporting him. Go to freedavidcampbell.com/.

You’ll find there how to write to him and mail books to him. There’s also a link to donate to his commissary account.

And, if you’re interested in writing him a letter but aren’t sure where to start, check out our “Write a Letter” episode in season 1 for tips.

Now I’m going to play his interview from Season 1, episode 6. In this interview, he’s referring to his release after the original arrest related to his case. Just a note on this, David used the name Jason during this interview because his court case was still going on. Now he’s comfortable associating this with his legal name since the trial is over. Here’s the interview!

_Jason: Hi my name is Jason. _

Liz: Jason was arrested earlier this year and experienced MACC Jail and Court Support.

Jason: When I was arrested I was held for about three days before I was finally arraigned and released. I only got to make one phone call and that was to my brother who is awesome and made the phone call to MACC legal. Thankfully I had memorized that number earlier in the day. So I did that and he put out the trumpet blast to make legal which really got the ball rolling. It was kind of distressing, if that’s not too much of an understatement, to only have one phone call and then not be able to contact the outside world at all and just kind of have to trust that the ball was rolling and that people were on it. My first time being arrested like I had no idea what to expect. Felt kind of alienating and weird and depressing.

_Jason: I was really impressed with the way everything worked. I mean everything from me making that phone call on to me being arraigned was out of my hands. So and that includes like comrades showing up for support. Also contacting the lawyer and the lawyer getting all the paperwork for my case. But also people pulling money to post bail. Like everything was taken care of without me non-hierarchically. And that’s actually pretty amazing. So I was actually like shocked at the arraignment because I hadn’t heard the charges against me. There were a lot of weird things going on with the circumstances of my arrest. So when the prosecuting attorney read off the summary of charges I believe it’s called, I was just like freaking out because it was like “I didn’t do that.” That was a little bit of an extra chore for my lawyer. When I went out for the arraignment, I could see my brother there in the public seating area along with a couple other friends comrades from MACC. And that was a really good feeling as well. I mean you can’t really do much except just like wave. But it was really good to see that there were people waiting there in this, you know it’s a courtroom like it’s big it’s imposing it’s boring. There were people that were just weathering that to support me. Walking out of the courtroom, I didn’t know because again this is my first time really dealing with the legal system in this way. I didn’t know if I was free to go or not. So the two cops who have been posted with me walk me out and I just start walking past me and I’m like “Hey am I like free to go?” Like I don’t know. My lawyer disappeared. They’re like “yeah you’re good.” And my brother was right there outside the door of the courtroom. So give my brother a big hug. I told him that it wasn’t what it sounded like and that I was sorry for putting him in the whole situation. And he hugged me back really strongly and said that he knew and it wasn’t a problem. _

_Jason: After having been on this side of things I will absolutely be doing jail support for other people. Especially because being in the court system and having the case to worry about doing jail and court support is a non-confrontational, low to no risk way, to show real solidarity and to help people and to build and strengthen those bonds that we need to have with each other where we can actually rely on each other. _

Dealing with an arrest is a dehumanizing and demoralizing experience. The act of just showing up can feel small when weighed against the brutality of the system. But these little bits of kindness are an important part of the struggle.

Here’s Jason on leaving his arraignment.

Jason: We went around the corner and the hallway there were like 20 people just standing there in a semicircle blocking up the hallway waiting to see me. And I started crying a little bit and want to just like go to pieces but it was a really really overwhelming feeling and it was real solidarity. You know it was present it was personal. I’ll never forget it. Like for real I will never forget that people showed up there and waited in this boring brutal environment just to support me.

Liz: We can’t win without caring for each other. You’ve been listening to Rebel Steps. I’m your host Liz. believe in yourself, trust one another, and get organized.