Cleveland to pay $225G to American flag burner at 2016 GOP convention
The city of Cleveland has agreed to pay $225,000 to a well-known flag-burning protester who was arrested after setting fire to an American flag at the 2016 Republican National Convention, it was reported Tuesday.
Gregory “Joey” Johnson of San Francisco, sued, claiming his arrest by Cleveland cops violated his First Amendment rights to burn the flag.
Johnson was convicted of burning an American flag at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, leading to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling sanctioning flag-burning in a case in which he was the plaintiff.
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Cleveland settled the case without any admission of liability, City Law Director Barbara Langhenry said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer Tuesday.
The city previously agreed to pay $50,000 to another man who sued over his arrest during the flag-burning protest, the paper reported.
"Instead of protecting RNC protestors' constitutional rights, Cleveland police stalked them, literally extinguished their speech rights, and then arrested and prosecuted them – violating 30-year-old Supreme Court precedent taught to schoolchildren,” Johnson’s attorney Subodh Chandra said in a news release announcing the settlement.
Johnson and other members of the Revolutionary Communist Party held the flag-burning protest the day after the convention nominated Donald Trump for president, according to the Plain Dealer.
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Cops arrested 18 protesters and claimed they interceded after Johnson set himself on fire.
The charges against Johnson were dropped by prosecutors, the paper reported. Cases against 15 others were dismissed.
As president-elect in November 2016, Trump tweeted his support for jailing flag-burners.
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“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Trump said.