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Taste Of Chicago Protest Organizer Charged With Attempting To Disarm Officer

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 11, 2016 6:32PM

Activist Ja'Mal Green faces officer George Devereaux (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicagoist)

Update 2:20 p.m.: Green has been ordered held on $350,000 bail.

Prominent local activist Ja'Mal Green has been charged with five felony counts, including one count of attempting to disarm an officer at a demonstration on Saturday at Taste of Chicago, police said. Green helped organize the demonstration against racist policing and police brutality, sparked by fatal police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota last week.

The total charges faced by Green are: two counts of aggravated battery of an officer; two counts of aggravated battery in a public place; one count of attempting to disarm an officer; and two misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing an officer.

Video shows Green standing on a police barricade, beginning to address the crowd of demonstrators, when officer George Deveraux, the executive officer of Area Central that day, first orders him to step down. He then pulls Green down by Green's left short leg.

It's difficult from that moment onward to clearly see the action through all the commotion. An officer can be heard saying, "Just relax." Crowd members then repeatedly chant, "Let him go!"

A photo taken by a Tribune photographer appears to show Green with his hand stretched toward Deveraux at one point during the protest.

Black Lives Matter Chicago called for the charges to be dropped and claimed to have received reports of police mistreatment toward Green.

Supporters, including activist Anwar Hodges, demonstrated outside Cook County Jail, referencing Green's organizing against outgoing State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Green is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

The city saw more protests on Sunday, through the Loop, on Monday morning outside City Hall, and more are scheduled for Monday afternoon at the Federal Building. They follow the controversial fatal police shootings last week of Philando Castile, 32, in Minnesota and Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge. Graphic video of both shootings circulated widely last week.