January 25, 2017
For immediate release
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams Subpoenaed to Testify January 26 at Important Hearing to Dismiss Misdemeanor Charges Against RNC 16 – in Wake of Charges Dropped Against Flagburner Joey Johnson & 1 other RNC 16 Defendant
What: Court Hearing on Motion to Dismiss for the RNC 16
When: Thursday, January 26, 10 am
Where: INJustice Center – Courtroom 13D, 1200 Ontario, Cleveland
On January 26, a Cleveland court will hear a motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charges against 12 of the RNC 16 defendants. The RNC 16 were viciously assaulted and arrested by the police in an attempt to prevent Joey Johnson from burning the American flag outside the Republican National Convention on the same day Donald Trump became the Republican presidential candidate in July 2016.
Coming in the first week of the Trump-Pence regime, this hearing will be one of the first legal challenges to attempts to criminalize dissent and political protest, including flag burning. Lawyers will argue for dismissal on the grounds that the arrests and criminal charges constitute a violation of their clients’ First Amendment rights and is an illegal and politically motivated prosecution.
*Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams has been subpoenaed to testify.
*Notorious Flag burner and RNC 16 defendant Gregory ‘Joey’ Johnson (whose successful battle in the Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson established that burning a U.S. flag in protest is protected speech) will be in court to stand with the remaining RNC 16 defendants and speak to the media. The assault charges against Johnson and one other RNC defendant stemming from the same protest were dismissed on January 11, 2017 as a result of a determined political and legal battle, which will continue at the January 26 hearing.
As Joey Johnson burned the America flag, the Revolution Club defiantly chanted “1, 2, 3, 4 –Slavery, Genocide, and War! 5, 6, 7, 8—America Was NEVER Great! Now, as the Trump-Pence regime has moved quickly in its first days in power to establish a fully fascist state with its blatant misogyny, vitrolic racist attacks, xenophobic nationalism, and threats against the First Amendment, including threats to jail and/strip flagburners of their citizenship, the statement of the RNC 16 last July resounds with even more urgency and truth: “We had a right to burn the flag, and it was the right thing to do.”
“Drop ALL the charges NOW” will be the demand of those coming to pack the courtroom on January 26.
Gregory “Joey” Johnson and attorneys for the RNC 16 will be available for interviews after the hearing.