Nicholas Stix Interviews Brian Barrido, Defense Attorney For Tinley Park Terrorist Dylan Sutherlin
Friday, January 4, 2012, circa 6 p.m., EST.
(NS writes: Note in reading this transcript that attorney Barrido (of Chicago’s Barrido & Robison [email them]) works from the assumption that people he dubs “Nazis” (the originally targeted victims in the Tinley Park terror attack) have no civil rights, such that assaulting, battering, and potentially even killing them does not count as a crime. Accordingly, the only acts that come into play are those that harmed the “innocent victims,” as he put it, i.e., the collateral damage of patrons who were not part of the “white supremacist” group, and restaurant owner Mike Winston. In other words, all crimes committed against people with the wrong politics are on the house.
There is no legal precedent for such an attitude in the Anglo-American legal tradition, and I’m quite sure that Barrido did not speak this way in his negotiations with the State’s Attorney’s Office and Judge Aguilar. And yet I don’t doubt that Eric Holder and Barack Obama would agree with Barrido.]
N.S.: Did your client make any statements in the court?
Brian Barrido: Not to the judge. We spoke with our clients before the plea went through, and they just wanted to get it over with. It was against the advice of all the attorneys. We believed they had a good trial, I was set to argue a motion to quash the [rest?] today. We still believe that we had a good shot at either winning the motion or the trial, but the clients just wanted to get it over with.
N.S.: So, in other words, you’ll never know how that motion would have gone.
Brian Barrido: Exactly.
N.S.: I have to ask this, even though it sounds rhetorical. Are you disappointed?
Brian Barrido: I am disappointed. I don’t believe that justice was done. I believe we had a good shot at winning the case on several grounds, either the motion or the trial. And I still believe that the victims that the state had weren’t very sympathetic. [NS: My emphases throughout].
N.S.: So, do you believe that those victims didn’t have a right to justice?
Brian Barrido: I don’t believe that those victims of the group that they claim to be a member of, members of, the Illinois European Heritage Association, I believe that that association is nothing more than the Nazis, and I believe that the Nazis stand for nothing but violence.
Brian Barrido: So, do I believe that people are entitled to justice? Yes, I do. Do I believe that in violence such as that the Nazis believed in, and who knows what they were planning on doing at that restaurant, I don’t believe that violence should be rewarded.
N.S.: So, you’re saying that the victims were planning themselves on committing violence at the restaurant?
Brian Barrido: I don’t know. I have no idea.
N.S.: Do you have evidence for that, because you just implied that the victims were the ones who were planning violence?
Brian Barrido: No, I have no evidence of that. All I know is that they’re a Nazi group that was meeting at a restaurant. I have no idea what they were planning on. Could they have been? Yes.
N.S.: And what about the people who weren’t members of that group who were also assaulted by your clients?
Brian Barrido: Oh, those are victims, [unclear] were definitely innocent victims.
Brian Barrido: The problem that I believe the state’s attorneys had with their case. There are 18 people that were involved in this incident. There’s a videotape, a security cam videotape of the people that were entering the restaurant. There are 18 people that went in, only five people were charged. Has there been any investigation as to finding out who those other 13 people were, and were those the people that hit the innocent people that were at the restaurant? I don’t know. All we know is that our clients that were arrested were charged. They were part of what was planned to be a peaceful protest and, as soon as they were arrested, the investigation, as far as we know of, stopped.
N.S.: Do people usually go to a peaceful protest armed with deadly weapons?
Brian Barrido: [Chuckles.] I’ve heard that question 1,000 times, and all I can tell you is that my client, my client, there’s been no evidence that my client was arrested with any sort of [unclear] weapon on him. There’s no DNA evidence linking my client to any of those weapons. Now, there has been, according to the state, some DNA evidence linking some of the other defendants to some of the weapons, but in terms of Dylan Sutherlin? Not a thing, not one piece of evidence connecting him to any of the weapons, or even having him inside the restaurant at all.
N.S.: What about the concept of acting in concert?
Brian Barrido: Well, that’s what the state’s theory was, that it was going on accountability [synonym for “acting in concert”], that if they were planning on having many people there, they’re going on the theory of accountability that all 18 were involved. All I can tell you that my client, as far as his knowledge of what was going to happen, was a peaceful protest when he got to the scene. What happened inside? He doesn’t know. He was outside.
N.S.: Anti-racist groups have no history of peaceful protests that I’m aware of.
Brian Barrido: [Unclear.] What I’ve known about the anti-racist movement, which is absolutely nothing, up until this case. I’ve never even heard of anti-racist organizations, such as the ones that my clients are a member of.
N.S.: Well, I’m not familiar with your clients’ groups, but I am familiar with groups calling themselves anti-racist, and they do have a history of violence. That’s their typical m.o.
Brian Barrido: [Unclear] I’ll have to, I have nothing to refute your points [chuckling].
N.S.: I want to thank you …
Brian Barrido: No problem.
N.S.: For your time and your thoroughness in answering these questions, and wish you a Happy New Year.
Brian Barrido: No problem. Thank you. You’re welcome.