Wednesday Sep 05, 201212:35 AM GMT
Police fail to imprison Charlotte activist over DNC
Wed Sep 5, 2012 12:27AM
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James Ian Tyson


Police in Charlotte, N.C., sought to keep an activist on a terrorist watch list in jail after he was arrested for a traffic violation, court documents said.


James Ian Tyson, 27, a Charlotte resident, was arrested Sunday morning for driving on a revoked license near a building used by protesters at the Democratic National Convention, the Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday.


Derek Fletcher, Tyson's lawyer, said at a hearing Monday that police were eager to keep Tyson jailed through the convention, and the $10,000 cash bond for a traffic offense was excessive. A Charlotte-Mecklenberg police officer recommended Tyson not be freed on pre-trial release, a court document said.


"Known activist and protester who is currently on terrorist watch list. Request he be held due to DNC being a National Special Security Event," the police officer wrote in a statement to the court.


Chief District Judge Lisa Bell reduced the bond to $2,500. Tyson was released Monday evening. UPI




"The state wanted to keep my client in jail during the DNC so he couldn't help organize any protests," Fletcher told the Observer. "I informed the judge it appeared to me that the state was trying to suppress my client from exercising his rights to speak during the DNC."


After he was released from jail, Tyson read a statement, saying his arrest was politically motivated.


"I have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide. I am a local Charlottean and an activist and I believe this is an attempt to stifle my First Amendment rights and keep my voice from being heard," he said.


Michael Zytkow, an Occupy Charlotte organizer, confirmed that Tyson is a Charlotte activist. Tyson, a volunteer with the Rainforest Action Network, has spoken at Occupy Charlotte events, according to the groups website.


Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators rallied in Charlotte on Sunday in a protest ahead of the Democratic National Convention. Organizers of the "March on Wall Street South" said they have mobilized to highlight the corporatist policies of both Democrats and Republicans. Democracy Now


About 200 protesters tried to march to the site of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday afternoon, but they were stopped by the police before they could get to the site.


Officers took two protesters away in handcuffs, other demonstrators got into shouting matches with delegates and their standoff cut off a route used by buses bringing delegates to the area. Still, no violence or significant damage occurred even after the protesters were eventually allowed to march into the heart of Charlotte's central business district. AP





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