The “Justice for J6” rally took place Saturday Sept. 18th at 12:00pm in Union Square, in Washington, D.C. with a lower turnout than expected, and a small lineup of speakers talking about Americans’ constitutional rights.
According to D.C. police, there were around 400 attendees
Attendees gathered to listen to scheduled speakers, and no violent incidents were reported.
Matt Braynard,whose organization Look Ahead America co-organized the event, said the purpose of the rally was to highlight the alleged mistreatment of participants in the Jan. 6 rally after which supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building.
The first speaker, who was identified only as Kelly, is the girlfriend of Jonathan Mellis, who was detained for participation in the Jan. 6 riot.
“Last night for dinner they were served four pieces of white bread, a cookie and a packet of tartar sauce,” Kelly said. “According to them, that’s a nutritious meal.”
Kelly said the treatment of prisoners should be a nonpartisan issue. Jeffery Zink, whose son Ryan Zink was arrested in February, said his son lost his job and home after being incarcerated for six weeks.
“When the FBI came to my doorstep and interrogated me for an hour and a half, they cleared me of any wrongdoing… they couldn’t find one ounce of evidence to hold me,” Jeffrey Zink said. “However, my son on February the fourth, had his door kicked in by 15 FBI agents, flashbang him and his dog, and put him on the floor, and handcuffed him, and dragged him out of his house.”
Jeffrey Zink said the cells in the jail where his son was held had black mold, and his son wasn’t allowed to speak to his attorney or family members.
Cara Castronuova, a co-organizer of the event, read a letter from Nichole Proffitt whose husband is an insurrection detainee.
Proffitt said her husband was put in the ICU for eight days with a lack of care for his health, religion and his civil liberties.
“The false narrative of January 6 being an insurrection when not one person has been charged with this crime is doing nothing but tampering with a potential jury pool and perpetuating fear when in reality, the only thing for fear of being complacent,” said Castronuova, reading Proffitt’s letter.
Proffitt’s letter goes on to explain that this could happen to any of them if they don’t accept America’s status quo.
Republican candidate for Georgia’s U.S. House of Representatives District 10 Mike Collins said the people arrested for non-violent crimes should be able to go on trial for their crimes.
“I don’t want to pretend to know who’s innocent and who’s guilty, but I’ll tell you what I do see. I see people who are being held for nonviolent crimes, and they deserve that day in court,” Collins said. “They deserve to have their sixth and eighth amendments upheld otherwise they are political prisoners. They are being used to suppress law-abiding American citizens from expressing their first amendment rights.”
Collins said President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing a narrative that people held in connection to the Jan. 6 riot are being treated the same as left-wing protestors.
Candidate for Washinton’s U.S. House of Representatives District 3 Joe Kent, who was endorsed by Trump, described the participants of the Jan. 6 riot as political prisoners, and compared their treatment to foreign Iraq war prisoners.
“It’s Banana Republic stuff when political prisoners are arrested and denied due process that happens overseas all the time,” said Kent. “Our enemies are those that will deny people their constitutional rights, and then take the narrative that labels all of us as terrorists or insurrectionists for just questioning things.”
According to Look Ahead America’s website, there are 17 more rallies slated in various states through October.
“You cannot have a two-tier justice system based on what you believe,” said Braynard. “I don’t care what your political strife is. It’s intolerable, and we’re going to stand up, and continue fighting for these people.”
Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter