SlutWalk Chicago supporters rallied at Cook County Jail Sunday afternoon Aug. 13 in support of the fifth and final marcher who had been arrested during the previous day's protest in downtown Chicago.
At around 1 p.m., activists and community members met to offer support. As Windy City Times reported Aug. 12, five marchers were detained and later confirmed arrested at this normally peaceful event.
Three of the five arrested were trans and, as of press time Aug. 12, two trans marchers were still in custody. Late Aug. 12, one of those individuals, a trans woman, was released. According to an email Windy City Times received from the Chicago Police Department, she had been charged with a misdemeanor resisting arrest of police officer, and a municipal charge of public assembly. She will have a court date in September.
Lee Dewey, a well-known member of Chicago's trans community, who uses they/them pronouns, was charged with two counts of felony aggravated battery to a police officer, one misdemeanor count of aggravated assault, and a municipal charge of public assembly. According to the Chicago Police, after repeatedly ignoring verbal direction, Dewey allegedly bit an officer and attempted to bite a Chicago Police supervisor. On its Facebook page last night, SlutWalk wrote that a marcher, later confirmed to be Dewey, had been taken to St. Joseph's Hospital from jail and then returned. Dewey was held overnight and had their bond hearing at 26th Street and California Avenue Aug. 13, an event which attracted a crowd of about 40 supporters.
SlutWalk organizers coordinated the event and updated the crowd as to the status of Dewey's progress through the court proceedings. Shortly after 2 p.m., organizers delivered the news that Dewey was formally charged and bail was set at $100,000: a bond of $10,000 was posted soon after with help from the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Organizers did not know if Dewey's trans identity would benefit or elongate the processing or release, but a SlutWalk organizer told the crowd that the facility "was not equipped to respectfully process trans folks."
Dewey was released around 4:30 pm, which surprised many, as they had been told usual estimates of processing time would have put release closer to 5:30 p.m. Organizers also seemed surprised at how high bond was set. They suggested the crowd donate to the Chicago Community Bond Fund and possibly set up a Go Fund Me for Dewey.
Sunday bond court only allows two people besides legal council to view the proceedings, usually close friends or family. Windy City Times spoke with Anson Poe and Adrian Summerville, who both identified themselves as Dewey's close friends and said that Dewey had requested their presence.
Although he admitted this was his first time seeing a bond court, Poe found Dewey's treatment unusual.
"They were kind of shuffling most people in and out," Poe said. "Every case that I was seeing was felonies, but everyone else it was just like, eh, possession of drugs, bail is set at $10,000, get out of here, but with Lee it was another story. The account that the prosecutor gave was that the cop tried to shove Lee's bike onto the sidewalk, Lee pulled it back, and they both fell down, and then Lee bit the cop, apparently. The defender started off naming Lee's do-gooder stuff, all the organizations they run, whatnot. The judge got really pissed and said, misgendering out the wazoo, 'it doesn't matter if we're talking about a good guy here, what we're talking about is that he bit the cop. Bail is $100,000.'"
Summerville concurred with Poe's assessment. "I was incredibly surprised at the judge's outburst. It was an aggressive stance, an aggressive tone, and aggressive words. All of the other people we saw before were very routine."
Summerville had been very close to Dewey during the arrest, and ending up housing their bike and personal effects afterwards. "It was intense. It was excessive force on the police's part," said Summerville about the arrest. "[The police] were very upset that we were not getting onto the sidewalk, and so they grabbed Lee's bike and wanted to start pushing things back. The bike was in the way, that was the big item, and so they targeted the bike. [The police] were grabbing the bike, and then they were grabbing Lee's arm, and a lot of bikes fell over."
Summerville confirmed that the police took Dewey to a hospital but said they did not think it was because of a physical injury sustained during arrest, and Poe said that Dewey looked uninjured in their court appearance. Summerville also felt that Dewey was targeted by police for their appearance.
"It was very clear the people that [the police] chose," said Summerville. "Lee does look very genderqueer, like they were probably within a marginalized community. I feel that had a lot to do with why they were chosen and why [the police] used excessive force."
Poe was happy to wait as long as it took to support his friend. "I'm going to get Lee some real food and a shot of tequila when they get out of here," he said.
SlutWalk organizers seemed both stunned and angered by the entire situation. One commented that perhaps the lack of media had "emboldened" police to act aggressively and arrest marchers. Earlier in the march, several reporters from other organizations had been present but left at some point. Another organizer confirmed that to her knowledge, no one had ever been arrested at SlutWalk Chicago in the past. She pointed out that this year almost all of the police officers who accompanied the march were male, and called the police behavior "unprecedented".
"They've never been like that before," she said.
Earlier coverage at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Marchers-police-and-Zionists-collide-at-SlutWalk/60071.html .