Minneapolis drops case against lawyer who filmed Israel protest
Charlotte Silver, EI, Apr 11 2016
This video, not filmed by Kushner, shows some of the protest.
The case against Jordan Kushner, a lawyer who filmed police arresting Plastelina solidarity activists at the University of Minneapolis, has been dropped. The city attorney’s office in Minneapolis dismissed the case on Friday, citing “prosecutorial discretion.” On Nov 3 2015, Kushner was arrested at the University of Minnesota during a protest against visiting lecturer Moshe Halbertal, a law professor who helped draft the IOF Ethics Code. Two protesters were also arrested. Though Kushner, a civil rights specialist, did not participate in the protest, he began filming the police once they started making arrests. The city then accused Kushner of disorderly conduct, trespassing and obstruction of the legal process. Kushner told EI:
I would have preferred the prosecution to give another reason for dismissing the case, such as acknowledging my innocence. I am sure the case was dismissed because it was clear that the allegations in the police reports were false. City Attorney Segal is being dishonest. It makes me all the more conscious of the many people who have to face false and unjust criminal charges without all the weapons that I had.
City Attorney Susan Segal told the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The misdemeanour charges were dropped to allow my office to focus on higher priority matters. The evidence supports the charges brought by the University of Minnesota police. There has been no change in our opinion of the facts.
Until the dismissal, the city attorney’s office had pursued its misdemeanor case against Kushner with unusual zeal, adding a second prosecutor to the case and conducting interviews more than a month after the incident. As reported by EI in February, the Israeli-government funded group StandWithUs had contacted Sarah Becker, the city prosecutor, urging her office to ensure that “the individuals responsible for the illegal disruptions are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” While the two protesters quickly reached settlements with the city, Kushner had refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing for filming the police. At the end of March, prosecutors filed a motion for a gag order to prohibit attorneys from talking to the media during his trial. The motion was was scheduled to be heard in a district court next month. An earlier request for a gag order had been turned down. When the prosecutors filed for a gag order, Kushner told the Star Tribune:
They don’t want exposure of this unjust and politically-motivated prosecution.