As 2013 begins, six antiwar activists are putting the City of Tacoma on trial for violating their civil liberties in 2007.  --  Case number 09-cv-5120RBL comes to jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Tacoma Courtroom B, beginning on the morning of Jan. 7, 2013.  --  Their suit, filed in 2009, charges that Tacoma police committed false arrest and other violations of law during the Port Militarization Resistance protests that roiled the Port of Tacoma for two weeks in March 2007.  --  They hope to "force the City of Tacoma to forgo illegal repression against constitutionally protected activity, including but not limited to the arbitrary repression of antiwar protests," a press release said when the suit was filed.  --  UFPPC's support for this lawsuit can be deduced from "Tacoma Must Learn the Lesson of Seattle," a statement adopted by the group on Apr. 5, 2007, which said that "the job of the Tacoma police is to keep the peace, not to unleash excessive force on demonstrators in an attempt to discourage citizens from exercising their rights.  It is not their job to erode them through measures like the illegitimate ban of backpacks and bags that was evoked several times by police at the Port of Tacoma last month.  If the police are to deserve the trust of the people, they must uphold the law of the land and the rights of citizens."  --  A contemporary account of Thomas McCarthy's arrest on Mar. 9, 2007, can be read here.  --  An account of the arrest of others for challenging the backpack ban on Mar. 11, 2007, can be read here.  --  "Among those arrested for carrying a backpack to the protest was Charlie Bevis of Tacoma.  He said he was asserting his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.  As police handcuffed him, he told them:  'When you became a police officer, you swore to support the Constitution.  I wanted to make it clear that what you are doing is unconstitutional, that you are following orders, and not the oath that you have taken.'"  --  One of the six plaintiffs has appealed for support for the "Backpack 6" during their trial, which will be held in Judge Ronald B. Leighton's courtroom in Tacoma from Jan. 7 to Jan. 17 (Mondays–Thursdays only), from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 4:30 p.m.[1]  --  Their 35-page complaint in the case of McCarthy et al. v. Barrett et al. has been posted on the ACLU of Washington website.  --  COMMENT:  The Backpack 6 deserve support for having the courage of their convictions and for standing up for the rights of all Americans during a time when our constitutional freedoms are being drastically eroded....


[Email to Olympians for Peace]


By Phan Nguyen

** Come show support! **

January 2, 2013

On March 11, 2007, during an antiwar protest at the Port of Tacoma, nine people were arrested on a public sidewalk for wearing backpacks in a “no-backpack zone.”

Since there is no such thing as a “no-backpack zone” -- not even in Tacoma, Washington -- the arrestees were charged with disobeying an officer in the duty of directing traffic.

The city of Tacoma pursued the cases for one  and one half years.  After the cases were thrown out of municipal court, the city appealed in superior court and lost again.

Now six of the former defendants are suing the Tacoma police and the city of Tacoma.  The trial begins on January 7.

Please come and support the Backpack 6!


Charles Bevis
Leah Coakley
Patrick Edelbacher
Liz Rivera Goldstein
Thomas McCarthy
Phan Nguyen


McCarthy et al. v. Barrett et al.


Attorneys in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union


Judge Ronald B. Leighton


January 7 to January 17, 2013 (Mondays–Thursdays only) -- 9:00 a.m. to approximately 4:30 p.m.


The Tacoma Courthouse
1717 Pacific Ave, Room 3100
Tacoma, WA 98402
(downtown Tacoma)

For background information, visit:

Please spread the word!