A Few Clarifying Points from the Support Committee (in Other Words: Please Get Involved!)
A few concerns have been raised thus far about the way in which the support committee has been handling Luke’s defense. People have expressed concerns about the way in which Luke’s family is being involved, on the strategy and rhetoric being used by the support committee, and about the support committee’s alleged advocacy for “vigilante justice.” We would like to take some time to respond to these concerns in online form, but we strongly encourage people to get in contact with those involved in Luke’s support team to air any disagreements, and refrain from strictly communicating over social networking sites (Facebook). We are writing as Luke’s close friends, ones he eats and sleeps with everyday, ones with whom he often speaks about his beliefs, and ones who have been in contact with him since he has been in jail. We know and love Luke deeply, and want everyone who feels similarly to get involved in his defense.
First and foremost: What is Our Purpose?
Our purpose is to support Luke materially and emotionally throughout this trial and for however long he needs us immediately following the trial. Our first priority is Luke’s release from jail. Afterword, we believe that Luke should be acquitted of all charges against him. We are fighting toward this end through contact with lawyers and, hopefully, popular mobilizations with others who desire to support Luke however they can. We are also doing our best to meet Luke’s emotional needs in light of this because we have known the torment of incarceration and the effect it can have on your spiritual and mental well-being.
While it may come to pass that Luke’s attackers receive charges for what they have done, that is not the focus of this support group. Our focus is Luke. We understand that the judicial system has legs all of its own and will act how it sees fit. Our intention, however, is to focus our energy on the person we all love and supporting them to the fullest.
On Talking to the Police
We would like to clarify our position regarding talking and interacting with police around Luke’s case. We have asked several lawyers for advice, and they have all said basically the same thing to us. At this point it is better for witnesses to go to an attorney and give their testimony together with a lawyer. Luke is already in jail, and it is not up to the police to let him out, but the legal system. We recognize that in Luke’s case it will be impossible to exonerate him without going through the legal system. After talking with lawyers from several prominent legal associations we believe that it is not in Luke’s best interests for people to immediately head to the police station and offer their testimony. We would love for as many people to come forward in Luke’s defense as possible, and to help them get their testimony done through attorneys. To be clear we are not telling people to stay away from testifying for Luke. We just want it be done in a way that best benefits his case. Once a lawyer or specific legal representation has been decided upon or assigned to Luke we will immediately release their contact information, in order to ensure that anyone who wants to help him with their testimony, eye-witness account, or character witness statement can do so in the most efficient way possible. If you have information, please write it all down now and date it so that you don’t forget what happened. Also please consider emailing the support group at email@example.com
On Lawyers and Legal Support
On the note of legal support, we have been in contact with lawyers from the NLG, the public defender’s office, the Occupy Atlanta legal team, and we are working on getting in touch with other attorneys from various legal associations of note. We are trying to secure the best possible legal team available for Luke because we know that this is very serious. At this time, the public defender seems like an efficient option because they work with the judge every day. If we need another lawyer moving forward, which we very well may, we will probably need to pay for one.
The WePay account that has been set up for Luke will collect money for several purposes. So far it has accumulated over $600 in just 24 hours. Money from the WePay can be used to pay for Luke’s bail, if it is set, for Luke’s legal defense, and to keep money in his commissary. For those who may be unsure as to how jail works, Luke’s commissary fund allows him to buy items in jail, including vegan food items and stamps to send letters. Luke’s commissary currently has a balance of 83 dollars, separate from the WePay. Luke also has an Amazon Wish List, with a list of books he would like sent to him in jail. Unfortunately, we anticipate Luke being in jail for some time, and books are a great way to pass time while imprisoned. In fact, being locked up with nothing to read leaves one in a state of extreme boredom and isolation. Luke requested books be sent when we spoke to him over the phone, and so we are working hard to fulfill this wish. Jail is a miserable place and we want to do what we can to make sure Luke is as comfortable as possible on the inside.
On Allegations of Vigilantism
Some of the language used in the initial post by the support team may have been unclear. For this we apologize. It was imperative to get a statement out ASAP to counteract the dominant media narrative that Luke went on a “stabbing rampage.” Although personally we do not believe the justice system offers justice to anyone, we recognize that it is an existing reality and that we must move through it to free Luke. WE ARE NOT CALLING FOR VIGILANTE JUSTICE. We are doing our best to respect Luke’s own beliefs and desires, as well as our own, while doing the most intensive and thorough defense work possible.
Again we would like to reiterate that for people who have concerns about how Luke’s defense is being handled, it is best to talk about it in personal conversations, not through social networking sites. We want as many people around to help defend and support Luke as possible. With that said, we plan to announce a public meeting soon. We are currently building a website that will make broad participation easier for people.
Thanks so much to everyone for their concern and strength.
-Luke’s Support Committee – firstname.lastname@example.org
Write Luke Letters:
Luke Patrick O’Donovan
901 Rice Street
Atlanta, GA 30318-4938