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Defendants facing felony charges for actions during protests are back in court on Friday

Sennett Devermont, known on social media as Mr. Checkpoint, at the Victorville courthouse on January 4, 2024.
KVCR News
Sennett Devermont, known on social media as Mr. Checkpoint, at the Victorville courthouse on January 4, 2024. Devermont is taking part in a legal motion that suggests police officers worked with informants to entrap seven defendants known by some as the Justice 8.

Legal motion filed by Edin Enamorado’s attorney suggests officers worked with informants, despite lead investigator denying so in court

Lawyers for seven defendants accused of assault, conspiracy, false imprisonment and kidnapping are scheduled to be back at the Victorville Courthouse on Friday.

One attorney and an activist are questioning certain tactics authorities may have used in their investigation into the group.

Sheriff’s investigator Alejandro Duran has already testified that he didn’t rely on informants when investigating the group dubbed the Justice 8. He said his investigation stemmed from watching hundreds of online videos and speaking with witnesses.

But now, Attorney Nicholas Rosenberg -- who represents Edin Enamorado, one of the seven defendants -- has filed a Pitchess motion to view the personnel files of Duran, fellow Sheriff’s investigator Blake Foyle and Pomona Police detective Travis Johnson.

With the motion, Rosenberg included a declaration from Sennett Devermont, an independent investigative journalist better known as Mr. Checkpoint. In that declaration, Devermont said that he believes there’s evidence that the three officers had relied on informants in their investigation.

Devermont wrote in his declaration that he believes two people, who he referred to as Kyle and Karen to protect their identities, began working with the investigators in September. He alleges that Kyle and Karen used a group chat to try to entrap the defendants by sharing public information of public officials and officers without being asked to, so the group could protest outside their homes.

Devermont told KVCR News that his declaration seeks to shed light on what he believes is an injustice.

“It’s about a system being used to really oppress, harass and target specific people who are just critical of police brutality or advocate for street vendors,” said Devermont

The Sheriff’s department said through a spokesperson on Monday that they don’t comment on current investigations.

Anthony Victoria is a UC Berkeley Local News Fellow reporting for KVCR News.