Adam Viet

A judge granted pretrial release for Blaông xã Lives Matter protester Viet Tran, who has been in jail for three weeks with no bond after being arrested for sharing confidential police documents from a July 1 prochạy thử at the Iowa Capitol to a local news station and for violating probation.

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Tran, 21, was arrested on a class D felony of charge unauthorized dissemination of intelligence data after he showed a Des Moines Police Department bulletin lớn ABC affiliate WOI-TV during an interview that was later aired on television, according khổng lồ police reports.

Tran, who faces up to lớn five sầu years in prison for that charge, is also charged with two simple misdemeanors from the July 1 protest: interference with official acts và disorderly conduct. 

The standard bond for class D felonies is $5,000 cash or surety. For simple misdemeanors, it is $300. Because Tran was on probation for a 2019 assault charge — an aggravated misdemeanor — he faced an additional probation violation charge with no bond. 


During a bond Review hearing Thursday, Tran"s lawyer, Glen Downey, argued he should be released on bond & that his arrest is being used to lớn silence dissent, but the state prosecutor claimed Tran is a threat khổng lồ the public.

"It"s no secret that Mr. Tran is an activist, that Mr. Tran is engaged in speech that I think the state finds objectionable," said Downey, a civil rights và criminal defense attorney, during the hearing. "The state is more than welcome khổng lồ find it objectionable, but it"s not more than welcome to lớn unconstitutionally use that speech khổng lồ try to confine him and silence that dissent."


Polk County Assistant Attorney Olu Salangươi claimed Tran is violent and suggested either no bond or a $20,000 cash bond, based on tweets Tran posted on his public Twitter account và allegations made in a probation violation report filed Thursday morning. 

In the state"s motion lớn resist granting Tran bond, Assistant Polk County Attorney Thomas Miller wrote:

 "(Tran) is a threat lớn public safety. On July 2, 20đôi mươi, Defendant posted threats on Twitter threatening harm khổng lồ Des Moines Police, to lớn Sergeant Paul Parizek, to lớn Iowa State Patrol, and khổng lồ the governor. Defendant’s Twitter posts also stated "I want y’all to burn down WHO 13 and KCCI. Gas & matches, that’s all you need.""


Downey argued the threats mentioned in the resistance aren"t credible; rather, the state"s refusal for Tran khổng lồ be released on bond is merely a scare tactic meant to lớn silence protesters.

"They want Tran & others lớn stop talking, khổng lồ stop acting," Downey said. "They are using hlặng as an example to chill the speech of others: "See what happens when you speak out? We"ll put you in jail và we"re not going to let you out.""

Fifth Judicial District Judge Celene Gogerty said there were no charges against Tran in any of the allegations made in the probation violation report or the tweets and therefore denied the prosecutor"s request, ordering pretrial release for Tran with requirements including a GPS bracelet. 

Tran was released from Polk County Jail Friday morning. He has a preliminary hearing on July 28, Downey told the Register.

Rare leak charge prompts questions, lawyer says 

The document Tran is accused of unlawfully disseminating was used by officers và state troopers to lớn identify and arrest several protesters who police say were involved in a prothử nghiệm June đôi mươi during which a police car was spray-painted & vandalized.

Tran"s case is the second time a charge of unauthorized dissemination of intelligence data has been filed in Iowa since 2010, according khổng lồ an Associated Press report.

Intelligence data, defined by Iowa code, means "information on identifiable individuals compiled in an effort lớn anticipate, prevent, or monitor possible criminal activity."

Downey questioned the validity of the clayên the DMPD bulletin is confidential, since it remains on WOI-TV reporter Eva Andersen"s Twitter feed & is accessible to the public.

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"Tell me why the DMPD hasn"t taken it down if it"s confidential? Because they don"t believe sầu it," Downey said.

Sgt. Paul Parizek of the DMPD confirmed with the Register that the department had not asked Andersen khổng lồ take down her tweet with the classified document.

The top of the DMPD bulletin includes a warning the document should not be shared or released to the public, which would violate Iowa code.

Downey took Tran"s case pro bono. 

"I believe sầu his case raises constitutional questions about the extent of the DMPD overreacting and its willingness to lớn stifle dissent," he said. "I"m afraid the DMPD does not have sầu the necessary training to lớn khuyến mãi with these protests constitutionally."


Robert Rigg, Director of the Criminal Defense Program & professor of Law at Drake University, questions whether the document classifies as intelligence data, since it included photos of protesters allegedly taken from social media và news outlets.

"(If) I get something off Facebook and give it so sometoàn thân else, is that intelligence data being disseminated? It"s information being garnered off of a public source," Rigg said.


Alexandria Dea, 26, faces the same rare charge of unauthorized dissemination of intelligence data, as well as first-degree theft. Police said she took an investigative sầu document from an officer & threw his radio out of reach during the July 1 protest on the Iowa State Capitol grounds.

Dea faces up to lớn 10 years in prison. Dea"s attorney, Ronald Langford, had not returned the Register"s request for comment as of Thursday afternoon.


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