Then and Now: Brent

Brent Betterly, OccupyDC 2011

When you are living with 200 protestors for almost six months in a park that is 1.5 acres and three blocks from The White House, you meet people from all over the country.

Brent is a friend of mine that I met back in November ’11 when the 27 year old electrician came up from Miami to join the protest.

We didn’t hang out a great deal, but we did hang out together often.  Whenever there was an action taking place you could always count on seeing Brent somewhere in front leading the pact.  His long blond dreadlocks made him stand out, so he ended up in alot of my photos.  The first one shown here was at a protest in front of The White House back in November.

A couple weeks later, Brent was arrested at The White House for disorderly conduct.  His crime?  He and ten other protestors staged a sit-down strike when the Secret Service ordered them to move along.

Brent and I lost touch with each other when OccupyDC was evicted.  I went on to West Virginia and then several other states for a variety of clients.  I was in Colorado the next time I heard about Brent.  He and a couple of his friends were picked up in Chicago and charged with being terrorists.

Calling them the “NATO 3” the Chicago police and media made a big deal out of what hardened terrorists they had saved the world from.  Truth is different though.  Brent would go out of his way to not harm or offend anyone.  To call Brent a terrorist is like calling me a linebacker for the Washington Redskins — it just ain’t so.

Brent’s mugshot after being arrested in Chicago

Yep, the media tripped all over themselves to convict Brent and the other two guys even before they went to trial. Their status today? They’re being held on 1.5 million dollar CASH bond until their trial date. Held in solitary confinement, Brent has to content himself now with counting cracks in the concrete of his jail cell until he gets a court date — and no one knows when that will be.

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