The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado announced June 25 it will represent a Castle Pines woman charged with second-degree criminal tampering for writing “Stop putting kids in cages” in …
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado announced June 25 it will represent a Castle Pines woman charged with second-degree criminal tampering for writing “Stop putting kids in cages” in chalk outside U.S. Rep. Ken Buck's office in Castle Rock.
“She did no damage and intended no harm, yet she faces an overly zealous criminal prosecution, a hefty fine and even jail time,” Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado legal director, said in a news release.
Shauna Johnson on June 6 visited Buck's office with her two children, ages 2 and 5, to discuss her opposition to President Trump's immigration policy of separating children from their parents at the border, according to the ACLU.
The ACLU's news release says Johnson spoke with Buck's office for 30 minutes, during which his district director defended the policy and called media reports about child detention centers fake news.
Buck said in a June 18 statement: “Separation of children from their parents is devastating, but we cannot allow children to be with adults while those adults are being detained for potential criminal actions. We need to reform our immigration system so that parents no longer expose their children to danger.”
As Johnson left the office June 6, her daughter dropped a bag of chalk on the ground. Johnson then wrote the message near the building's entrance, added a cross and signed it from “Jesus.”
She was charged at her home three hours later by a Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy after building management called authorities. Second-degree criminal tampering is a class 2 misdemeanor that could result in up to a $1,000 fine and three to 12 months in jail.
If Johnson returned to Buck's office without an appointment, she could also be charged with trespassing.
“Family separation is a moral outrage, and I wanted to express that outrage,” Johnson said. “It never occurred to me that I was doing anything wrong, as I wasn't damaging any property or blocking any doors. I was just speaking and hoping that my message would appeal to Representative Buck's humanity and convince him to take action to stop the policy.”
A spokesman for Buck said the office had no comment concerning the charges against Johnson. Her first court date will be Aug. 19. She'll be represented by Adam Frank of Frank & Salahuddin LLC., ACLU staff attorney Sara Neel and Silverstein.
Building management was not immediately available for comment.
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