Alex Stokes Contompasis is a journalist and artist from Albany, NY. Alex’s work documenting social unrest began in 2014. He was arrested in 2017 in Washington DC during the J20 inaugural protests and co-represented over 200 counter-protestors and independent journalists that were rounded up and falsely charged. He was in Charlottesville, VA during the summer protests in 2017. He routinely attended and recorded Black Lives Matter protests in Albany in 2020. He also regularly revealed local white supremacist groups and members.
On January 6, 2021, protestors gathered outside the New York State Capitol in Albany, NY in support of the Stop the Steal rally in Washington DC. A handful of counter protesters spoke out against them and a melee broke out after a Proud Boy tased a Black man in the neck. Alex was watching from the sidelines and ran to help others. Police did not intervene until the violence had ended and ultimately arrested three Black activists. Alex was charged with several violent felonies. The Proud Boys that engaged in the violence were not arrested at the scene.
Alex’s family and friends maintain that he was railroaded by the system. He was a journalist under a court-ordered gag-order for over a year. His previous work and experience with dangerous hate groups were inadmissible for his defense, but the prosecution picked apart his social media accounts and portrayed his actions as premeditated. He was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison, despite the fact that no one died and neither of the victims received life-altering injuries. One even began a job as an EMT just 6 weeks later.
A man with no violent criminal history, and with lifelong ties to the community, was issued a sentence far more severe than most who commit reckless acts of violence and orchestrated the insurrection itself.