Thursday, September 26, 2002

Flag dragged, but no arrests made this time

Group repeats protest that landed one member in court

By The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A dozen protesters dragged an American flag in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse on Wednesday, but this time the demonstration didn't end with arrests.

[photo] “Nikki X” from the Black Fist stands on the flag outside the county courthouse Wednesday.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        Instead, the group dragged and stomped on the flag for several minutes, shouted anti-police slogans and then marched on to City Hall.

        The arrest of one of the protesters at a previous demonstration prompted a federal lawsuit that accused sheriff's deputies of violating the free-speech rights of protesters.

        The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, claimed that Terry Summers was arrested for dragging a flag on the ground.

        But at a federal court hearing Wednesday morning, county lawyers argued that Mr. Summers was arrested for disorderly conduct during the demonstration and not for dragging the flag. They said he had taunted passers-by and blocked pedestrians on a public sidewalk.

        Judge Susan Dlott did not issue an order in the case, saying there was no evidence Mr. Summers was arrested solely for dragging a flag. The judge then suggested that the deputies or the protesters videotape the next demonstration in case there were more arrests.

        One of the protesters did just that a few hours later at the demonstration in front of the courthouse.


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