Sunday, April 13, 2008

DuPage Free Speech Case NOT Dismissed!

posted by Jeff Zurawski

As you may have heard by now or read about in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald, Sun-Times Publications, and Suburban Life, the hearing last Thursday didn’t go the way we hoped it would.

We maintain, and our lawyer Shawn Collins argued, the police had no probable cause to arrest us. The judge disagreed, presumably based on testimony given by the State’s only witness, Charles Hardin, the truck driver who called 911 after he drove past Sarah and I demonstrating. A tape recording of Mr. Hardin’s 911 call was played in court. Here’s the transcript:

Zurawski/Hartfield 911 Call May 6, 2007
Operator: 911.
Hardin: Yeah, I’d like to report uh, I’ve got two youths ... I’m going southbound on 355 at the 26th and a half mile marker 26th ½ to 27 mile marker. There’s a bridge that goes over 355 I’ve got two youths up there hanging a bunch of uh, a bunch of junk that looks like they’re hanging shit off of that bridge.
Operator: Let’s see, what road is that north of?
Hardin: Uh, I believe that would be north of Roosevelt?
Operator: Okay, do you have it kind of by that train bridge that goes overhead there? Like the prairie path possibly?
Hardin: Right, right. It’s north of the train bridge. You can see the train bridge if you’re going underneath the bridge that they’re standing on and it would be in between Roosevelt and North Avenue. [pause] It looks like it’s a pedestrian walkway.
Operator: Yeah. And do you have any idea what they were hanging off of it?
Hardin: It looked like they had maybe some flags or something they were hanging off of it. And they were acting like they were throwing stuff at the windshields and, I-I didn’t have anything hit my windshield but, you know, I’m a uh, I’m on my way to work right now, I’m a truck driver and whenever I see that that kind of scares me because...
Operator: Right.
Hardin: I’ve seen a lot of people get injured real, really bad from, you know, kids tossing rocks and other stuff off the bridges.
Operator: Uh-hum. What’s your last name?
Hardin: My last name is Hardin. H-A-R-D-I-N.
Operator: First name?
Hardin: Charles.
Operator: And your phone number is {censored by jeff}?
Hardin: Yes.
Operator: Okay, we will go ahead and get them out there.
Hardin: Thank you very much.
Operator: No problem.
Hardin: Bye.

Considering that Sarah and I did not have our signs “hanging off that bridge” and did not act like we were “throwing stuff at the windshields,” it’s inconceivable we were arrested on a disorderly conduct charge alleging we “knowingly without a county permit, staged a war protest on the Great Western Trail overpass in unincorporated DuPage County, Illinois causing the vehicles on the highway (I355) to swerve causing a traffic disturbance because unknown objects were being thrown on the expressway, as well as the American flag being displayed in an upside down manner from the overpass.”

Bewildered? Me, too!

Even more astonishing than the fact that Charles Hardin’s false report to 911 contradicts the false charge on which Sarah and I were arrested, is that Hardin testified under oath on Thursday that he saw "everyone trying to get out of the middle lane. It was an erratic -- not normal -- traffic pattern.” And that, “We came almost to a crawl.” All three statements are false.

Remembering that over a million innocent people have been senselessly killed or injured and millions more have fled their homes to escape the extreme violence in Iraq during the U.S.-led “war” that started based on a pack of lies, I suppose a prosecution without merit shouldn’t surprise us.

The judge set a trial date for Monday, June 9th. We’ll probably have another rally on the Thursday or Friday before then. In the meantime, we’ll be speaking at the next DuPage Against War Now meeting ( )and at the York Township Democrats meeting ( Please join us if you’d like to discuss the case’s latest developments.

As Always, Keep the Faith!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I admire your steadfast determination to see this through. I first heard about this case when you spoke at the York Democrats meeting this May and I was appalled that these types of tactics are now openly and regularly being used in our country. The fact that this case has hardly made a blip in the main stream media has me very concerned that we as a nation have gotten to complacent. Out of a sense of duty I voluntarily joined the Army and servered in Vietnam in 1970/71. I have first hand experience of the utter brutality that war can bring to a nation and I applaud the courage it took for you and Sarah to do what you did!

I truly wish we could somehow spark the same enthusiasim for anitwar activism like we had in the 1960's and early 70's. Somehow this generation has changed profoundly and I worry that when they finally do open their eyes it will be too late and it will take generations to undo the damage that has been done by the Bush administration along with the help from an apparantly feeble Democratic leadership.

I was born in an Eastern Bloc country and immigrated as a refugee to the US in 1959 shortly after the revolution in Hungary, I grew up learning from my parents how easy it is to dupe an entire nation into accepting this type of behaviour from our government. From the vary people who swore an oath to protect our Constitution. This is especially apparant now that the vast majority of our mainstream media is being controlled by a few major corporations. I only hope that it is not too late for the US to find its way back to the ideals that our founding fathers had for this nation.

You can count on my support anytime...