Outrage As 3 Cherry Pie San Francisco Activists Jailed
24 February 1999
from the Biotic Baking Brigade
|San Francisco - When San Francisco's Mayor, Willie Brown, testified against the three homelessness activists who had thrown pies at him last November, he repeatedly urged the court to make an example of the defendants. The trial ended in a split verdict. The jurors deliberated for over nine hours, finally acquitting the defendants of the heavier charge of assaulting a public official, while convicting them of simple battery. Today, Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith complied with the Mayor's demand, sentencing all three pie-throwers to the maximum penalty of six months in the county jail. Spectators who managed to get a seat in the crowded courtroom voiced their disapproval as the draconian sentences were pronounced. Even Rahula Janowski was sentenced to six months, despite the testimony the Mayor's friend Garland Rosario, that he tackled Rahula in the wake of the pie-ing, snapping her collar-bone and creating in a permanent disability. Janowski's attorney, Katya Komisaruk, told the judge that this sentence was a "shanda fur die goyim," an embarrassment for the community.|
All three defendants and their attorneys made statements in court, before Goldsmith issued the sentences. Gross said simply, "Poverty is violence." Livernois also focused on the continuing disastrous impact of the Mayor's policies toward the homeless community. And Janowski quoted: "The psychological importance of a planned campaign against the nuisance of begging should not be underestimated. Beggars often force their poverty upon people in the most repulsive way...if this sight disappears from view... people will feel that things are becoming more stable again, and that the economy is improving once more." Janowski pointed to the similarity between this rhetoric--from Nazi Germany's Ministry of Propaganda--and that of some of San Francisco's civic leaders, and reminded listeners that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.
The Biotic Baking Brigade (BBB) remains undeterred by the outcome of the case. Agent Apple, speaking for the BBB General Command, Ecotopia Division, issued the following communique in response to the harsh sentences: "The pie is cast. We shall not rest until justice, as well as dessert, is served."
To civil society, social and ecological activists, militant bakers, friends, supporters, and alternative media:This is a follow up on the case of the Cherry Pie 3, who were sentenced to six months in San Francisco County Jail for pieing Mayor Brown. The Ecotopia Cell of the Biotic Baking Brigade is focusing all of its energy right now into jail support and media detournement instead of our specialty, action. However, the General Command has been in emergency session since the afternoon of the sentencing, and they are coordinating a plan for solidarity pie actions with the l'Internationale des Anarchos-Patissiers (the notorious anarchist International Patisserie Brigade) and other pastry radicals. A call will go out soon, we ask that you please stay tuned...and start pre-heating your ovens! Remember folks, these are dangerous days, and we may look back on them fondly as when you could still carry a pie without a license.On a personal note, I already miss the presence of three good friends, but I realize that they have no regrets and refused to compromise in the fight against neoliberalism, injustice, and fascist economics. The Bay Area will also miss these seasoned activists. Rahula has been a mainstay with Food Not Bombs and social justice issues, Justin's passion is ecological defense and Earth First!, while Jerry works on animal liberation and volunteers at Act Up. Instead of each paying $700 to the state and serving three years of probation with a search clause (that the cops could use to search their homes, offices, or persons any time of day or night), which would have effectively shut them down as frontlines activists, they stood strong and upheld their beliefs. You can jail the people, but not the movement. Ya basta! La lucha sigue/La lutte continue/The struggle continues....
Aside from solidarity pie actions, people can support the Cherry Pie 3 by:
And now for something completely different...Below you'll find two articles on the case, Rahula's eloquent statement at sentencing, excerpts from Judge Goldsmith's philosophical rant (which really should be distributed widely; it's perhaps the classic statement on Law & Order in Amerika today), and a recent Jim Hightower radio spot on the BBB. A global roundup of recent pie events will be issued shortly.From the mountains of the Ecotopia, this is Agent Apple saying . . . We can lick the upper crust!
The pie penalty
By A. Clay Thompson
San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 25, 1999While sentencing San Francisco's most notorious bakers, Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith invoked the specter of Dan White, quoted Mahatma Gandhi, and paid homage to the American political system and in the end, a couple minutes after 10 a.m., Feb. 25, he slammed the "Cherry Pie Three" with a six-month jail sentence. The trio, Gerry Livernois, Rahula Janowski, and Justin Gross, will likely spend four to five months in the clink for mushing three pies into Mayor Willie Brown's mug back in November. The act rocketed the trio, and their clandestine guerrilla organization, the Biotic Baking Brigade, to international infamy and hero status among rabble-rousers around the globe.The San Francisco Probation Department recommended Goldsmith hit each of the three with more than $700 is in fines, 60 days in a work program, and three years probation. Prosecutors argued for the fines in addition to the six-month max jail sentence. The brigade decided they'd rather take jail time than be yoked by probation rules for the next 36 months. Goldsmith chucked the proverbial book at 'em.
Now, with prominent brigadistas behind bars, the guerrillas continue to issue pithy electronic communiqués as they plot their next move. The Bay Guardian has acquired the presentencing statement read by Janowski (a.k.a. Agent Lemon Meringue) and a bunch of other brigade manifestos. Look for an interview with the jailed agents on sfbg.com March 3.