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Chicago Activist found not guilty of felonies [13 May, 2009]

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Andy Thayer is best known for his work as a marriage activist in Gay Liberation Network (GLN) .  However, he has also been a longtime anti-war activist as well as a critic of police brutality in Chicago.

On January 7, during a visit by President George W. Bush to Chicago, Thayer was among those who tried to stretch an anti-war banner across the path of the presidential motorcade.  He was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery on a police officer.  Thayer’s case went to trial May 5, and a decision the same day found him not guilty.

Thayer, speaking to Windy City Times, said that while he felt a ‘tremendous amount of relief,” he also felt angry about what he saw as ‘the enormous amount of [public] resources it took to get this acquitted.”  Like many in the anti-war movement, Thayer feels that ex-President Bush should be tried as a war criminal because he is “a man who has orchestrated torture and illegally invaded a sovereign nation.”

Speaking to the larger context of his trial, Thayer stressed “anti-war protestors in particular are subject to police harassment.”  Asked if he thought that an Obama administration might signal significant changes in this regard, Thayer was skeptical: “People who should know better are reluctant to protest the new President even though he’s not going to prosecute torturers because they ‘were following orders.’ Where’s the difference? We’re going to have to push for a very different agenda if we want a humane situation internationally.”

Thayer is planning to go to Moscow Pride the weekend of May 17.

WCT contacted the Chicago Police Department for a response to the decision, but received none. 

Originally published in Windy City Times, 13 May, 2009

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