The metropolis of Cleveland has handed out one other spherical of funds to a gaggle of protesters who had been wrongfully arrested for staging a flag-burning protest in 2016 in opposition to the Republican presidential nomination of Donald Trump.
On 25 September, 12 activists every obtained $50,000 from town after the costs introduced in opposition to them throughout following the protest outdoors the 2016 Republican National Convention had been dropped.
In whole, 16 folks had been arrested over the flag-burning protest, together with Gregory “Joey” Johnson, who famously efficiently argued the act of flag burning is protected by the First Amendment after he was arrested for setting fireplace to at least one outdoors the 1984 Republican conference.
Johnson had obtained a $225,000 settlement from the Ohio metropolis in June, with two different protesters who had their fees dropped additionally receiving $50,000 every in September and April of this yr after submitting federal civil-rights lawsuits.
Following the newest spherical of funds, the protesters have now obtained a complete of $925,000 from town.
The group argued that because the flag was lit outdoors the RNC conference on June 20, 2016, Cleveland Police officers unjustifiably extinguished the flames and due to this fact restricted their proper to Free Speech. Officers claimed they put out the flag as Johnson’s garments had unintentionally caught fireplace.
Officers then arrested Johnson and the opposite members of the Revolution Club by drive, claiming the protesters started violently resisting. Attorney Subodh Chandra, of the Chandra Law Firm, posted video footage earlier this yr which she stated disproves the police’s variations of occasions.
The protesters had been held for greater than 24 hours by police earlier than fees had been filed in opposition to them. In October 2017, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Charles Patton dismissed the circumstances in opposition to 12 of defendants, stating that they had been participating in constitutionally protected speech, reported Cleveland.com.
The remaining 4 protesters had already had their fees dropped.
In an announcement following the newest spherical of payouts, Johnson said: “As Trump was delivering his fascist message of white supremacy, ‘legislation and order,’ scapegoating of immigrants, disgusting misogyny, and bare ‘America First’ chauvinism to the conference outdoors, up in opposition to all this, the Revolution Club linked arms whereas I stood in the midst of the circle and lit the purple, white and blue rag of imperialism on fireplace.
“Our message to the world- America was NEVER nice! We Need to Overthrow this System.”
Chandra, lead counsel for the protesters, added: “This large payout of $925,000 is a stain on the integrity of the officers concerned, Cleveland’s police division, and Cleveland itself. Officials’ blatant disregard for the Constitution on the 2016 RNC didn’t make us safer, however quite taught us to worry censorship and lawlessness from the very folks sworn to guard our rights.”
Johnson was additionally amongst those that had been arrested for collaborating in a flag burning protest in entrance of the White House forward of President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” speech in July.
The fees in opposition to him had been later dropped in September.