No Real Consequences for Politicians Arrested at Protests

When politicians are assured there are no consequences for getting arrested, the act that led to their arrest is sure to be repeated. 

Some politicians and celebrities often appear to enjoy going to protests and rallies with the sole intention of getting arrested for an act of civil disobedience. Most politicians, however, do not want any press coverage for whatever acts they have been arrested for. Former D.C. Mayor (now Councilman) Marion Barry was not at all happy to see FBI agents burst through his hotel door in 1990 and arrest him on drug charges. 

But eight Democratic congressmen appeared to promote their arrests by Washington, D.C. authorities during an immigration protest in October: Reps. John Lewis (D-GA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raul Grivjalva (D-AZ), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Al Green (D-TX), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Charles Rangel (D-NY). One law enforcement source told Breitbart News that politicians who engage in such activities and are later arrested are usually finger-printed, processed, photographed, and released--depending on the charge (trespassing, resisting arrest, breaking and entering, etc.). Moreover, prosecutors usually decline to go forward with the cases and charges are often dropped.

Additionally, according to the source, the members are not likely to be around those who are arrested in D.C. for other crimes, such as drugs, assault, murder, or prostitution. Members of Congress are usually isolated from these individuals. Breitbart News sent inquiries to members who were arrested in October and is awaiting responses about their experiences.

As expected, according to D.C. court filings the October 8 immigration rally arrests of the Democratic congressmen resulted in each charge for each member being dropped by the prosecution within one week. Often, the charge was for incommoding or unlawful assembly. The members were also released the day they were arrested after each posted around $50 in bail. Oddly enough, Rep. Gutierrez was not listed along with his seven colleagues as having been arrested on October 8, 2013. Two cases, one in 2010 and another in 2011, show dropped charges for failure to obey a lawful order and failure to obey a police officer. 

In contrast to these members' experience, pro-amnesty activist Marco Pacheco was arrested in the U.S. Capitol on November 4, 2013, with fellow protester Marcela Espinoza. According to the Huffington Post, both attempted "to persuade Latino members of Congress to ask President Barack Obama to stop the deportation of eight immigrants detained since they surrendered in September to U.S. authorities at the border with Mexico to protest federal immigration policies." 

Pacheco and Espinoza, members of Dream 30, were arrested by Capitol Hill Police for unlawful entry. Gutierrez has since cut ties to the group represented by Pacheco and Espinoza. However, since their arrest in November at Rep. Ruben Hinojosa's office, the charges were never dropped by D.C. prosecutors. Pacheco was released eight days ago on several conditions, including a stay away order. The next hearing for Pacheco is scheduled for July 15. Espinoza was released on December 9 with similar conditions to Pacheco's.


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