Free Our Internet Sends Letter to D.C. Chief of Police About Upcoming Protests Over Net Neutrality

Today, Free Our Internet sent a letter to the D.C. Chief of Police asking for increased security around upcoming net neutrality protests. Given the violent background of several of the protesters, we urge the department to consider increasing security during this event in order to protect the citizens of D.C. Below is the full text of the letter.

December 11, 2017

Peter Newsham
Chief of Police
Metropolitan Police Headquarters
Henry J. Daly Building
300 Indiana Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001


Chief Newsham –

In light of recent federal charges against a New York man for threatening the life of Congressman John Katko (R-NY) over his views on “net neutrality,” I wanted to bring to your attention an upcoming protest on this issue. As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to vote on repealing Obama-era “net neutrality” regulations on December 14 during its open meeting, radical groups such as Protect Our Internet, Popular Resistance, DistruptJ20, and Code Pink are planning to camp outside the FCC on the evening of December 13 into December 14 to oppose the vote.

While peaceful demonstration is every American citizen’s right under the First Amendment, individuals do not have a right to put others in harm’s way. Given the violent past behavior demonstrated by multiple members of these groups, including those who are confirmed to attend the December 13 protest, I urge your department to consider increasing security during this event in order to protect the citizens of D.C.

In their organizing Facebook group[1] and in emails sent to supporters, Baltimore-based Popular Resistance writes that there will be “various risk levels” during the protests. Euphemistic language like this should cause concern given the radical and violent background of many individuals involved.

Organizers have also requested[2] supporters to communicate with applications such as “WhatsApp” and “Signal” which use encrypted messaging to hide communications from law enforcement. This type of technology has been used in the past to organize violent events such as the 2011 London riots[3], the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks[4], and the 2017 anti-Trump inauguration riots.[5]

Individuals involved with these protest organizers, several of whom have confirmed to be at the FCC on December 13, include the following:

  • Sergei Kostin: Kostin is described by the DC Metropolitan Police as a “professional activist.” Kostin punched a protester at a 2013 rally outside the Supreme Court.[6]
  • Kevin Zeese: Zeese is a member of Popular Resistance. He previously blockaded former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler from leaving his home in 2014.[7] This group also recently documented their destruction of a monument to Christopher Columbus with a sledgehammer in Baltimore.[8]
  • Eleanor Goldfield: Goldfield is a DisruptJ20 organizer who put together protests during the Trump inauguration in which more than 271 violent protesters were arrested and six police officers were injured.[9] Goldfield has been quoted arguing that “destruction of property is not violence.”[10]
  • Tighe Barry: Barry is an activist who was arrested on January 10 during the confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.[11]
  • Alli McCracken: McCracken is a Disrupt J20 organizer who organized protests during the Trump inauguration that injured six police officers, vandalized cars, and set a limousine on fire.[12]
  • Lacy MacAuley: MacAuley is a member of the violent antifascist group “Antifa,” and a spokeswoman for DisruptJ20[13], a group which in January was accused of planning to disrupt a pro-Trump inaugural event at the National Press Club by dropping butyric acid into the building’s sprinkler system.[14]
  • Jason Yawn: Anarchist and DisruptJ20 organizer.[15] Yawn helped to organize street blockades during President Trump’s inauguration. Yawn works with “Black Bloc,” a violent movement whose tactics include vandalism of private property and rioting.[16]
  • John Zangas: Zangas is a “citizen journalist” with the radical DC Media Group collective.[17] He was the videographer of a Lacy MacAuley-organized Antifa protest on March 4, 2017 to disrupt a pro-Trump rally on the Washington Mall. Antifa activists at the protest were chanting, “1, 2, 3, 4, This is fucking class war… 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great.[18]
  • Alina Duarte: Duarte is a correspondent with Telesur,[19] a Socialist satellite television network sponsored and funded by Venezuela and Cuba.[20]

I strongly encourage you to increase security surrounding the FCC building on December 13 and 14 as the vote on “net neutrality” looms. While the First Amendment gives us the right to petition our government and speak freely about policy issues like these, it does not give violent activists the right to endanger those around them simply because their ideologies do not align.

I thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter. In addition, I want to express gratitude to you and your officers for your service to the District of Columbia and to our nation. The sacrifices you make on behalf of those you protect is a noble and important duty that does not go unnoticed.


Christie-Lee McNally
Executive Director
Free Our Internet