Supporters are fuming over the plight of Lee Alexander Wise, one of the 13 individuals arrested as a result of the lawless protests in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Sunday night. Organizers of a fundraiser claim that Wise, a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, is a transgender woman who is being “punished unfairly in a myriad of ways” — including by being housed in a male section of the prison.
Wise, who police identified as male, was one of 13 arrested as a result of the violent protests that erupted in Lancaster Sunday night. Protesters took to the streets following the fatal police-involved shooting of Ricardo Munoz, 27. Video shows Munoz chasing an officer with a knife prior to the shooting.
According to the Lancaster Bureau of Police, Wise faces charges of “Arson (F1), Institutional Vandalism (F3), Riot (F3), Failure to Disperse (M2), Obstructing Highways and Other Public Passages (M3), Disorderly Conduct (M3) and Defiant Trespass (M3).”
“Additional counts of Criminal Conspiracy for all charges is included on the complaint,” the bureau added. Wise was awaiting arraignment as of Tuesday, but several of those arrested on that same night had bonds originally set at $1,000,000.
That, as well as the fact that he is being housed in the male section of the prison, is unfair, organizers of Wise’s GoFundMe contend:
"To add insult to injury, Alexa is a trans woman and is currently being housed in a male section of the prison, putting her in a very dangerous situation. She is being punished unfairly in a myriad of ways and needs our help to fight these charges." https://t.co/9fbcuYpU9K pic.twitter.com/WvwRUL0jOb
— Hannah Bleau 🍓 (@hannahbleau_) September 16, 2020
“Many of the activists were arrested and a Pennsylvania judge is throwing the book at them– setting ridiculously high bail amounts – for allegedly rioting,” organizers wrote, identifying Wise as one of the protesters “who has taken to the streets time and time again to support the BLM movement.” Organizers claim that Wise has focused on “preventing violence and attempting to engage law enforcement in the conversations this country desperately needs to combat police brutality and create equity for people of color.”
“To add insult to injury, Alexa is a trans woman and is currently being housed in a male section of the prison, putting her in a very dangerous situation. She is being punished unfairly in a myriad of ways and needs our help to fight these charges,” they continued, calling the charges “absurd.”
“We MUST get Alexa back home and help fight these absurd charges so that she can continue to support the lives of oppressed individuals in her community!” organizers exclaimed.
The GoFundMe had raised over $22,900 as of Thursday morning.
People have also created fundraisers for some of the other alleged rioters and arsonists, including Kathryn Patterson, a 20-year-old student at Lancaster’s Franklin & Marshall College. The college’s president, Barbara Altmann, promoted the fundraiser on Instagram this week, stating that “many of us in our community will be contributing.”
Like Wise, Patterson faces charges of arson, institutional vandalism, riot, failure to disperse, obstructing highways and other public passages, disorderly conduct, and defiant trespass. Her fundraiser had garnered over $54,000 in donations as of Thursday morning.