Occupy protesters contest October arrests
February 15, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Occupy Chicago protesters were in court Wednesday demanding that charges be dropped against those who were arrested during a protest in Grant Park last October.
"My husband and I were both arrested, and we agreed that this was an unlawful arrest," said Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, who was arrested on October 22.
Osei-Frimpong was one of the nearly 200 people arrested in Grant Park during the month of October as part of the Occupy Chicago protests. A city ordinance that establishes the closure of the park from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily was used to justify the arrests. But as they left court, attorneys for those arrested contested the detentions as violations to free speech.
"This was expressive political activity & That's protected under the First Amendment and no park district ordinance can override the first amendment," said John Stainthorpe, defense attorney.
The city's attorneys dispute those assertions saying that "while the protesters may feel that they are entitled to the park for those seven hours that's not what the First Amendment requires & and that there is no requirement that the city provide people with an alternative. "
The motion to dismiss the arrests is significant because of what it might mean to the mass protests that are expected to take place during the G-8 and NATO summits in May, a fact that defense attorneys pointed out over and over in court
"This was Mayor Rahm Emanuel being Mr. Tough Guy to show the world that they can come for G-8 and NATO. It's as simple as that," said Thomas Durkin. "There was no need to make mass arrests on this night. There was no need to show Mr. Tough Guy. It was a show of force. It was stupid."
local, michelle gallardo
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