WASHINGTON — An activist arrested for chaining himself to the barrier protecting the Supreme Court believes that the charges against him were dropped because authorities feared that his arrest was “not a good look.”
On the morning of June 6, a man identified as Guido Reichstadter had hopped over the barricades and chained himself to the unscalable fence surrounding the Supreme Court using a bike lock and chain. Then, as reporters and protestors watched, he took out pliers and attempted to break the key that went to the lock before throwing the key on the ground.
“I am not letting my daughter’s rights be taken away by this unelected, unaccountable Supreme Court,” he yelled as he stood chained to the fence.
Before his exhibition, the pro-abortion protestor had tearfully explained that he feared for his daughter’s future ability to get an abortion, saying, “I’m just a dad, and I can’t sit back while my daughter’s rights are taken away.”
After several warnings, police arrested Reichstadter and took him to a holding area in the Supreme Court building; the activist told The Daily Wire on Monday. He said they booked him, took mugshots, held him, and then transferred him to a central cell block.
“I stayed there overnight. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said outside the Supreme Court on Monday morning, where he was protesting with other members of the RiseUp4Abortion group.
But to Reichstadter’s surprise, the charges were dropped.
TOPSHOT – A pro-choice demonstrator yells after chaining himself to the temporary security fencing outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on June 6, 2022. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
“In the morning, they gave me a pre-hearing interview, and I was supposed to have a hearing with a judge at 9 o’clock, then they sent me back in the cell, and by 12 o’clock, they let me know that the charges had been dropped.”
Asked why the charges were dropped, the abortion activist suggested that D.C. authorities were doing “damage control.”
“While I was [at] the bottom of the Supreme Court, I heard the police talking. They said, ‘oh, this has gone viral on Twitter already,’ so maybe it was the public perception that it’s not a good look for the mayor to be imprisoning a father fighting for his daughter’s rights,” he added.
Reichstadter claimed D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower was involved in getting the charges against him dropped, but her office did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Wire. The Metropolitan Police Department told The Daily Wire that the Supreme Court police had handled the entire situation, and the Supreme Court police did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The U.S. Attorney’s office, which would have handled dropping the charges, declined to comment.
“There is a way to call the millions of passive supporters of abortion rights into active support capable of halting this attack,” Reichstadter said in a June 9 Facebook post. “It’s called nonviolent civil disobedience, and it was how the movement for civil rights in the U.S. was won. It involves hundreds and thousands of people voluntarily breaking the law, facing state repression, and going to jail.”
That post calls for more abortion activists to non-violently get themselves arrested.
“If you can’t sit back anymore on the sidelines while your loved one’s rights are stripped away, please get in touch with me,” he said in the post. “We have the power to stop this attack on women. We have the responsibility to organize ourselves to wield that power. We need supporters, volunteer organizers, and both arrestable and non-arrestable direct action team members (esp. arrestable ones).”
In a joint statement issued Friday by U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Steven D’Antuono, authorities said that they “are committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans to express their views peacefully during demonstrations that take place on a regular basis in the nation’s capital, including at the Supreme Court.”
“We also have a responsibility to ensure public safety and the orderly conduct of government business,” the statement said. “We will not tolerate violence, destruction, interference with government functions, or trespassing on government property.”
The joint statement also said that authorities are “committed to working closely with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to stop any individuals who intend to commit violence or criminal activity under the guise of carrying out a demonstration.”
The warning comes after authorities arrested 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske of Simi Valley, California, near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home on Wednesday. Roske allegedly said he wanted to kill the justice.
Roske found Kavanaugh’s address online, the affidavit said. Pro-abortion advocates with a group called Ruth Sent Us had posted the address on the internet, sparking heavy criticism from those who feared for the justices’ safety. Ruth Sent Us did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire, but put out a statement saying they do not “support violence.”
According to the affidavit, Roske told authorities that he was upset about the “leak of a recent Supreme Court draft decision regarding the right to abortion as well as the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.” He indicated that “he believed the Justice that he intended to kill would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws.”
“Roske stated that he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court Justice after finding the Justice’s Montgomery County address on the Internet,” the affidavit said. “Roske further indicated that he had purchased the Glock pistol and other items for the purpose of breaking into the Justice’s residence and killing the Justice as well as himself.”