Critical Mass Trial – Day 5 – Not Guilty!

The final day of the trial began Monday morning ( 4.14.08 ) with the judge deciding that a recording of a police radio transmission earlier in the mass was not admissible as evidence. On the recording, police foreshadow the events to come, saying that they should “get a bus and just arrest all these bastards”. Gus Ganley then took the stand and testified to how it took him completely by surprise to find out that he was being charged with assaulting and fleeing an officer two weeks after the incident happened when he himself was assaulted. Gus then walked through the video of the event step by step explaining what was happening. It became shamefully apparent (for the 10th time) that officer Craig Williams (#7769) had either lied and knowingly committed perjury under oath, or that he was so utterly confused by the situation that he actually believes he had a minute-long interaction with Gus in the four seconds before he tackled him to the ground. It is difficult to believe that a highly trained police officer would be so confused about the important details of his own “assault”.

After Gus’ testimony, lawyers for both sides made their closing arguments and the jury went into deliberation. The jury asked one clarifying question and then asked to see the videos of the event one more time. After viewing the videos and returning to the jury room, it took them about five minutes to vote and come back with the predictable verdict of Not Guilty on all counts.

Gus can now finally try to get back to his life as a student at the U of M after seven months of worrying about this trial, an entire week wasted at the Hennepin County Courthouse, and with a debt of thousands of dollars. It is sobering to acknowledge that it took the testimony of nine eyewitnesses, Ganley himself, three videos of the interactions, and pictures of the event to counteract the bogus testimony of one police officer who was at the scene for five minutes. The city has obviously made it a priority to intimidate political speech and use a few individuals as scapegoats to cover up for gross police misconduct. This trial affirmed the importance of citizens to exercise their right and duty, like Ganley and the eyewitnesses did, to observe and record police misconduct and stop it in whatever way they can. It clear that the city will never hold their own officers accountable for macing, tasing, throwing to the ground, and using pain compliance holds on hundreds of bicyclists (and lying about it afterwards).

Gus’ victory in court is energizing, but it is important to remember that there are still two others who face trumped up charges from the city and who may be dragged through exactly what Gus was by the city of Minneapolis. Thank you to the many people who showed up in court to support Gus throughout this long ordeal and who donated for the legal defense. Because these trials are clearly political, it will take public pressure to encourage the city to drop its phony charges. Consider writing letters to the editor or putting pressure on your city council person and the city attorney’s office to put an end to this nonsense and drop the remaining charges. We will continue to send out announcements and update the site as new information becomes available.

The next Critical Mass ride is Friday, April 25th. Join us to celebrate Critical Mass’ victory in court!

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