Flagstaff, AZ — Trial has once again been postponed for three social and environmental justice advocates who are facing charges stemming from a 2018 Indigenous Peoples’ Day demonstrat
ion. Alejandra Becerra, Klee Benally, and Sumayyah Dawud, also known as the “Indigenous Peoples’ Day 3,” (IPD3) are continuing to fight what they denounce as a political attack.
Although trial for IPD3 was supposed to occur yesterday, an evidentiary hearing on motions filed by IPD3’s defense attorney Lee Phillips, was held. The judge decided to schedule another evidentiary hearing to give the prosecutor more time to respond to the defense’s motions
At this point trial looks like it may be rescheduled for late February or March.
On December 17th, 2019 attorney Lee Phillips filed a Motion and Memorandum of Law raising Selective Enforcement and Vindictive Prosecution as an issue for defense. No response was given by the State until the day of a scheduled Case Management Conference on January 7th, 2020, at which the prosecutor objected to the defense and urged the judge to deny it. The judge presiding stated she needed more time to review all motions.
Flagstaff attorney Lee Phillips, who is representing the three defendants, expressed that his clients have been “Targeted because of their political views and expression.”
The judge was only recently assigned to the case, due to the State prosecutor requesting the change because of comments made by the previous judge questioning why the State was going to trial on such minor infractions. However, the State pushed for trial to commence on January 16th, 2020 despite having filed objections to the defense at the last minute. The prosecutor appeared frustrated that the defense was prepared to call on 23 witnesses for trial, which include current and former Flagstaff City Council members as well as others who are mentioned in reports the State is relying on for prosecution. The evidence that has been disclosed shows extensive surveillance on known local organizers.
Support the IPD3 crowdfunding campaign to pay for legal expenses here: www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-ipd3
Help spread awareness leading up to the trial using the hashtags: #indigenouspeoplesdayFlagstaff #supportIPD3
More information: www.indigenousaction.org/idp3
On October 8, 2018 more than 40 people rallied and marched through Downtown Flagstaff to denounce the City of Flagstaff’s “hypocritical” declaration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The rally was held as a call for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, highlight the criminalization of migrants that leads to mass deportations and detentions, accountability of the City of Flagstaff for their role in desecrating the San Francisco Peaks, ending criminalization of unsheltered community members, and to address the disproportionate level of racial profiling and arrests Indigenous people face.
Nearly a dozen Flagstaff police officers used body cameras to monitor and document the demonstration. Flagstaff Police Department and the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Task Force then launched a weeks-long investigation that used social media and an unidentified informant to file misdemeanor criminal charges of “Obstructing a Public Thoroughfare.” A total of eleven people were initially charged. Seven of those charged agreed to a plea deal with the option of 40 hours of community service or paying a $150 fine.