Charges dropped on Des Moines Catholic Worker for Trespass at Military
Recruitment Center: County attorney said she had no case.
Trespassing charges against Des Moines Catholic Worker Kirk Brown were
dropped today, Monday, June 23, 2008, in Polk County Courthouse in Des
Moines, Iowa. The charges stemmed from Brown's involvement in an
occupation of the Armed Forces Career Center in Des Moines on March
19, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War.
Shortly before the Brown's trial was to begin, Sally Frank, attorney
for Brown, was informed by prosecutors that because their witnesses
could not state with complete certainty that the protesters had
blocked the entry to the Armed Forces Career Center that the County
felt compelled to dismiss the charges.
Eleven protesters occupied and briefly shutdown a Military Recruiting
Center on March 19, 2008, on Des Moines' east side. About an hour
into the protest, police arrived and told the group to leave. All
obeyed the directive, except Brown and Ed Bloomer who were both
arrested after they refused to leave the premises when instructed to
do so by military recruiters and police. Bloomer had pleaded guilty
to the charge of trespassing at the arraignment and was give a fine
and a suspended sentence. Brown pleaded not guilty.
A pre-trial program concerning Brown's trial and the motivating
factors of war and civil disobedience was presented last night, June
22, 2008, at the Berrigan Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, with
Kirk Brown as the lead presenter.
Also on the program was Andy Duffy, president of the Iowa City Chapter
of Iraq Veterans against the War. Duffy told of his
personal experience with military recruiters and the lies they tell.
Sally Frank, Kirk's attorney shared with us what we might expect at
Court the following day. Colyn Burkank, a summer intern at the Des
Moines Catholic Worker reported on his experience earlier in the week
in a meeting with a Marine recruiter at the same office at which Brown