Justin Barker Does Community a Service

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According to the courts, Justin Barker, 25, is guilty of something—just not everything he was originally charged with after jumping behind KTVU Fox News Reporter Amber Lee during a live taping in the Castro last Halloween and shouting, “Fox News is bullshit!”

The comment led to his arrest, as well as charges of assaulting Lee and resisting arrest. But the DA dropped the resistance charge after learning that Barker had tracked down a witness who claimed to have watched the entire incident from her balcony and was prepared to testify on Barker’s behalf, if necessary.

Barker was ultimately sentenced to ten hours of community service for assault against Lee, who at the time said she “didn’t know” whether Barker had even touched her. Lee was not present at any of the hearings.

One hundred hours of community service was reduced to 25 over the course of several court hearings. In a phone interview, Barker said this proves the DA never had a real case against him. His public defender later negotiated those hours down to10.

Despite now having a criminal record, Barker believes this was a free speech victory. “I feel confident that if I would’ve pushed this thing all the way [to trial], the jury would’ve definitely seen things my way.”

Barker plans to create a 45-minute documentary about free speech in San Francisco and beyond. He has yet to decide which community service project he will do.