Charges Dismissed Against African-American Minister Targeted and Tackled by Capitol Police
Washington, D.C. – Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., president of the Hip Hop Caucus and peace activist, announced today that the D.C. Superior Court dismissed charges against him of assaulting a Capitol Police officer while in line to attend a hearing in the House of Representatives. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) represents Rev. Yearwood in his case.
On September 10th, Rev. Yearwood waited in the line for several hours in order to watch General David Petraeus testify before Congress. Minutes before the start of the hearing, Rev. Yearwood was told by Capitol Police that he would not be allowed to enter. When Rev. Yearwood questioned why he was being excluded from the open hearing, he was surrounded by officers and tackled to the ground. He suffered torn ligaments and a sprained ankle.
Rev. Yearwood received letters of support from organizations including Amnesty International and the Black Leadership Forum. Americans across the country contacted the Capitol Police Department and members of Congress about the extreme and unjust charges.
The entire incident was caught on film and is available here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qiradcejA6o
Rev. Yearwood said leaving the courtroom Friday, "I am relieved the charges were dropped, but they never should have been brought against me. This one incident in 2007 has moved us back to 1957, where people of color are once again afraid to walk the halls of Congress. I am more heartbroken for the young people for whom I work to make government more accessible and transparent, who are now fearful of coming to the Capitol. We have an apartheid political system, where democracy while Black isn't the same as democracy while White. These officers and the U.S. Capitol Police must be held accountable by our members of Congress for their horrendous actions."
Anne Weismann, CREW's chief counsel said today, "While we are gratified that these charges against Reverend Yearwood have been dismissed, we remain outraged that he was arrested in first place. We hope that the House Leadership will review this incident and take steps to ensure that it never happens again."
Rev. Yearwood still faces charges of disorderly conduct stemming from this incident.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact David Merchant at 202.408.5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org