David Campbell was unjustly imprisoned for events that unfolded at the protest of a New York City alt-right event on January 20, 2018.
A lover of language and the arts, David was two weeks away from moving to Paris to study French translation. It was his commitment to antifascism and his community that brought him out to the protest that night.
At the protest a brawl broke out in which a 56-year-old intoxicated alt-right man was knocked unconscious. During the brawl a police officer, unannounced, threw David to the ground breaking his leg in two places. With no other arrests made on either side, the officer alleged that David had stalked, punched, and strangled the alt-right party attendee, and then tried to strangle the officer himself. These fabrications went on to be circulated by right-wing media.
The initial charges were dropped after surveillance footage failed to back up any of the above allegations. However they were replaced with a more vague and heavy-handed charge of Gang Assault. Gang Assault makes any group of three or more people involved in a fight legally responsible for each other’s actions, and carries a steep mandatory minimum of 3.5 years.
After almost two years of legal maneuvering, David took a non-cooperating plea for a sentence of 18 months in a local facility, to avoid a trial and a much longer sentence in a facility far away from his friends and family. During this period the Manhattan DA inexplicably offered much more lenient plea deals involving only community service to a number of alt-right gang members arrested and charged in a separate but very similar case about ten months after David. No justification for these disparate outcomes has been given by the Manhattan DA. The arresting officer in David’s case has not been held responsible for breaking David’s leg and lying about David’s actions.