Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Many of those arrested during the G20 Pittsburgh Summit were in court today for preliminary hearings but they were not all treated equally. As the names were called some stepped up in suits and others in more casual attire but none of them were wearing the black masks seen during the protests Thursday and Friday. The defendants were given options that seemed to vary by the severity of the charge and when the arrest was made. Many of the University of Pittsburgh students were given postponements until October 21st. Pitt Sophomore William Taylor says he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was arrested Thursday night in Oakland. He says he is looking for community service or an outright dismissal of the charges at his October hearing. Taylor says he hopes the talk of the university reaching a deal with the Allegheny County District Attorney comes to fruition before his next court date. He admits it will be hard for anyone to determine which students were protesting and which were innocent bystanders. So he hopes all Pitt students will be let go. Taylor also hopes the students will not receive any campus disciplinary action either. Taylor says his public defender was “taken aback that the charges were not dismissed outright.” Some defendants were being offered reduced fines for quick pleas. Luke Rudkowski of New York was charged with disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. He says he was in town to collect video or his Internet page and to “get our message out.” That message includes conspiracy theories on 911 and drinking water. Friday night he was using a megaphone to speak out about 911 and was trying to remind people that their complaints should not be about the police but about the governments that sent them to the park. The judge and prosecution allowed him to pay a $100 fine and have the failure to disperse charge dropped. Rudkowski says he works and goes to school full time and does not have time to fight the charges. He says if he was from Pittsburgh or had he been arrested in New York he would have not taken the deal and would have fought the charges. Several of the arrestees say they have been told a class action suit against the city is being organized and a legal defense fund has been established. The ACLU has not commented on either of those claims.