Demonstrators to Protest 'Chicago 7' Verdict Today
Supporters of the "Chicago 7" will march through Boston today to protest yesterday's verdict in the five-month. Chicago conspiracy trial.
The 10-woman, two-man jury returned to the courtroom yesterday with a split verdict-acquitting all seven defendants on conspiracy charges, but finding five men guilty of crossing state lines with the intent of inciting a riot.
Only John Froines and Lee Weiner were acquitted on both the conspiracy charge and an additional count of teaching the use of incendiary devices. An eighth defendant. Bobby Seale, is being tried separately.
The five others-David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin-now face maximum sentences of five years in prison and $10,000.
Federal Judge Julius J. Hoffman did not set a date for sentencing. Declaring, "I find the men in this trial too dangerous to be at large," Hoffman denied bail to the five convicted defendants.
The announcement of the verdict brought an immediate reaction from the defendants' supporters around the country. About 1500 demonstrators marched to the court house in Seattle, Wash., yesterday breaking windows and fighting with police. Other demonstrations were reported in Chicago, New York, and Berkeley.
In Boston, the November Action Coalition said they will hold a rally at 4 p. m. today at the Park St. subway station and march to Post Office Square.
NAC spokesmen said the demonstration will be "disciplined and orderly. We will not initiate violence." They added, however, "We will not let ourselves be attacked and mauled without appropriate defense."
Permit In Question
March organizers have not yet received a permit for the demonstration, but representatives of NAC and the mayor's office met yesterday and will continue to meet today to work out a march route.
A previous parade permit, allowing the demonstrators to march during the three-day holiday weekend, ran out Monday night. The mayor's office has refused to grant the permit for 4 p. m. because the march route cuts across the rush hour traffic pattern.
News of the demonstration brought an equally strong reaction from Boston patrolman Richard G. MacEachern, president of the National Patrolman's Assn., who yesterday called on policemen "to meet force with force."
"All patrolmen in the United States should take this as an outright challenge and threat to not only themselves but the very basic idea of freedom in America," MacEachern said.
"If the group that is attempting to coerce the basic concept of law and order-with regard to the trials in Chicago-assumes they will succeed, let them know they will receive as much force as they wish to exert," he added.
Hours after MacEachern's statement appeared in the press, two people fired a shotgun blast at him as he emerged from a tavern in Roxbury.
MacEachern, who was uninjured, said the persons shouted "Fuck you and fuzzy too" out their ear window before firing the blast and driving off. "Fuzzy" is the name of a pig which MacEachern convinced the police department to adopt as a mascot last December.
The announcement of the verdict came as a surprise to newsmen and observers who gathered in the Chicago courtroom yesterday to hear a defense motion declaring the jury deadlocked and asking for a "mistrial" ruling.
Hoffman cleared the courtroom of spectators before the jury announced its verdict. He said he wanted to avoid disruptions like the one which occurred last Saturday while Hoffman handed out contempt of court sentences.
Two jury members considered sympathetic to the defendants were visibly shaking as Hoffman asked them to affirm their agreement with the decision.
The guilty verdict against five defendants has almost incidentally become a landmark decision in the controversial trial. The verdict is the first decision under the famous "Rap Brown amendment" attached to the 1968 Civil Rights Act.
Legal experts have questioned the constitutionality of the wording "conspiracy with intent" to cross state lines to incite riot. The split verdict found no conspiracy, while affirming the defendants' intent to incite rioting, and virtually eliminated an appeal on constitutional grounds.
The two acquitted defendants were not charged with crossing state lines because one lives in Chicago and the other had established temporary residency there.
Defense attorney William Kunstler said yesterday he will appeal the decision on other grounds.