Phi Beta Cons

PC Enforcement at UCLA: The Plot Thickens

I blogged a week ago about UCLA epidemiologist James Enstrom, who, it appears, was fired for reaching un-PC scientific results on matters related to environmentalism. I quoted a Reason story that contained this little tidbit:

He has not only criticized the evidence underlying the proposed regulations but has made trouble by pointing out . . . that a UCLA colleague who supports regulation of fine particulate matter, John Froines, had served on a scientific panel that advises CARB for 25 years without being reappointed every three years, as required by law.

As “50GreenDodge” pointed out in a comment to that post, John Froines was a member of the Chicago Seven. For those who haven’t spent much time studying Sixties leftism, the Chicago Seven were a group of men charged with (among other things) trying to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention. In the end, Froines was acquitted on all counts.

Here’s what the Federal Judicial Center has to say about the allegations:

The indictment described a conspiracy of the eight defendants, eighteen unindicted coconspirators, and other unknown persons, who traveled in interstate commerce with the intent to incite a riot and to commit overt acts to promote and carry out the riot, all in violation of a recent statute passed by Congress in response to the urban riots of the mid-1960s. The defendants were also accused of conspiring to teach the manufacture and use of incendiary devices and to interfere with the official duties of firemen and law enforcement officers. The indictment specified meetings at which various defendants planned the demonstrations and confrontations with law enforcement officers. The indictment also listed speeches and meetings that allegedly constituted the overt acts required for conviction under the Anti-Riot Act.

The government prosecutors argued that the defendants shared a “tacit understanding” of their common goal of provoking a riot, although the eight never met as one group. The defense attorneys described the conspiracy charge as absurd on the face of it, and directed most of their arguments to disproving the charges of intent to incite a riot. 

And about the charges against Froines specifically:

3. Were John Froines and Lee Weiner guilty of instructing demonstrators in the manufacture and use of incendiary devices?

No, the jury found Froines and Weiner not guilty of the charge.

The indictment charged Froines and Weiner with teaching people how to make and use an incendiary device and with the intent to incite civil disorder and to disrupt interstate commerce through the use of such devices. The U.S. attorneys called on undercover policemen for testimony that Froines and Weiner had discussed plans to use flares as weapons, to purchase chemicals for stink bombs, and to make Molotov cocktails for firebombing the parking garage under Grant Park. On cross-examination, the principal government witness admitted that he heard Froines say he didn’t know how to make a Molotov cocktail. In their closing arguments, both defense attorneys challenged the credibility of the testimony about the Grant Park garage and emphasized that police never found any physical evidence of firebombs or materials to be used in the manufacture of bombs.

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