By Elizabeth Miller
During the Republican National Convention, police arrested 24 people. The majority of those arrests happened during a flag burning earlier this week near East 4th and Prospect.
16 of the 18 demonstrators arrested Wednesday were released on personal bonds Thursday evening after spending a little more than 24 hours in holding. Their charges vary from failure to disperse, to disorderly conduct, to resisting arrest. The National Lawyers Guild, which represents most of those arrested this week, says late paperwork caused a delay in arraignments. Attorney Michael Nelson is part of the Lawyers Guild.
"If the protocol was that difficult with 16 people, no telling what would’ve happened with hundreds of people," said Nelson.
Before the convention, the city said it had prepared hundreds of jail beds for possible protesters. The two demonstrators from Wednesday who are still being held by police may be processed as early as Friday morning. They’re charged with assaulting a police officer.
One demonstrator, Joey Johnson, was the defendant in a landmark Supreme Court case about flag burning. He spoke of his experience shortly after being released.
"We had a lot of solidarity on the outside and the inside. They knew the eyes of the world were on Cleveland, on the jail, and on the police for having arrested us to begin with," said Johnson. "Among the prisoners people were singing, chanting, and giving each other support the entire time we were there. It was beautiful."
Johnson was charged not for burning the flag, but for assault.
According to Michael Nelson, a woman arrested Monday on outstanding warrants has private counsel and 3 people arrested Tuesday for climbing a flag pole were charged with misdemeanors.