via All Out ATL
ATLANTA, GA — Friends and fellow students of Scout Schultz, a young non-binary, trans, agender, intersex activist murdered by Georgia Tech police officer Tyler Beck on September 16, are facing increasing repression as they mourn. Three people arrested on September 18 during a protest in honor of Schultz – Vincent Castillenti, Cat Monden, and Jacob Wilson — are dealing with false felony charges, thousands of dollars in legal fees, and further retaliation by their universities and employers. Stevenson Hudson, Jr., founder of the African American Equity Committee, is also facing charges for carrying a weapon at the demonstration despite having a license for his firearm. Three additional students — all black — have been harassed, snatched from their classrooms and homes, and arrested by GTPD in the weeks following the protest: JT Pennington on September 27, another student who wishes to remain anonymous on September 29, and Kirby Jackson on October 2.
An obvious case of retaliation, Jackson’s arrest came just over a week after she wrote an article for Yahoo! News [link] condemning GTPD for Schultz’s death. GTPD has also released surveillance photos disproportionately targeting people of color. In collaboration with GSU PD and ATL PD, GTPD has been harassing black students, pulling them out of classes for interrogation, and threatening them with disciplinary action if they don’t cooperate.
A state judge has ordered Monden to stay away from the Georgia Tech campus, where she was enrolled before her arrest. Georgia State has temporarily suspended Wilson, and both students are facing the possibility of expulsion in a gross violation of their civil rights. Wilson and Castillenti have been charged with new severe penalties under SB 160, also known as the “Back the Badge” law, which many legislators have criticized [link] for specifically targeting protesters. Additionally, two of those arrested have lost their jobs as a result of these false charges, one of whom was employed at Georgia Tech.
Police have established a clear pattern of teaming up to target people of color, alleging they can link them to the protest on September 18, arresting them on false charges, and encouraging further institutional repercussions in order to stifle dissent and silence those who continue to speak out against Schultz’s murder.