CCI Action Fund Will Defend Against Trumped Up Assault Charges

stop wage theft!

Memo sent to Iowa CCI Action Fund members and supporters by Adam Mason, Statewide Policy Organizing Director, in response to assault charges filed by state capitol police against founding CCI director Joe Fagan.

3/13/14  7 pm

I wanted to update you on where we’re at in response to media attention about our recent worker justice lobby day at the State Capitol.

See the most up-to-date Register story here. The headline is: “CCI protester charged with assault for encounter with Iowa lawmaker”. The member who has been charged is founding CCI director Joe Fagan.

Here’s what happened…

At around 1:30 March 12, a group of CCI Action Fund members approached Rep. Greg Forristall to lobby him. He’s the chair of the House Labor Committee, and he is single-handedly holding up the wage theft bill that passed out of the Senate last week. He also refuses to consider legislation raising the minimum wage.

We wanted to share a few personal stories with him from directly impacted workers. As he walked away from us, he entered an office off of the NE side of the Rotunda. Our members were chanting “Workers need their pay, pass the bill today.” At no point did any member (including Joe) grab, touch, or assault Rep. Forristall.

We have been sending the following statement to the press.

“This is a distraction from the real issue at hand, which is the fact that Rep. Forristall, as the chair of the Labor committee, is single-handedly refusing to give legislation cracking down on wage theft its fair hearing. Senate File 2295 would benefit thousands of Iowans in helping recoup over $600 million dollars in lost wages every year.

Furthermore – regarding these accusations – this is not who we at Iowa CCI Action fund are. Who we are is everyday folks who raise issues, and were at the capitol to lobby yesterday to participate in the democratic process, because we truly believe in a government of, by, and for the people.

We also believe in peaceful non-violent protest, as well as community organizing and education, as a way to raise up issues we care about. We do not condone or engage in violent behavior, and that’s the case here. No member of CCI Action Fund assaulted Rep. Forristall.”

In light of the citation of simple assault – nothing has changed on our end – we stand by the facts. Joe Fagan did not touch or assault Rep. Forristall at any point, and we will be fighting these charges tooth and nail.

I wanted to share this with you to ensure you know the facts about what happened.

Joe’s initial court appearance will be 9 am on Thursday, March 20.  We will be there with him. Joe is being represented by Joseph Glazebrook, an excellent defense attorney. We are confident that we will prevail.

We know that we are constantly going up against powerful entrenched corporate interests, especially at the statehouse. Republicans, as well as business and industry groups, are very much opposed the wage theft bill.  It is no surprise that Rep. Forristall would want to shift the focus off of his own lack of action on important issues – like wage theft – by trying to discredit us and distract others from the real matter at hand – which is justice for everyone.

If you have any questions, please call me at our office.
Adam Mason,
State Policy Organizing Director

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