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Activist Ja'Mal Green Released From House Arrest, Aided By Old Letter From Rahm

By Mae Rice in News on Jul 20, 2016 8:31PM

Activist Ja'Mal Green faces Officer (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicagoist)

A court released a local activist from electronic monitoring on Tuesday, ABC7 reports, thanks in part to an old letter of support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The ruling came after activist Ja'Mal Green was charged with hitting and attempting to disarm a police officer at a protest against police brutality earlier this month.

The letter from Emanuel was not related to this specific case, Mayoral spokesperson Adam Collins told Chicagoist. However, Collins said the Mayor did send Green a letter, more than a year ago, expressing support for an anti-violence campaign Green was involved in. Michael Oppenheimer, Green's attorney, confirmed to Chicagoist that this was the letter from Emanuel submitted at Green's Tuesday hearing. Other letters of support were submitted on Green's behalf, too, including one from Father Michael Pfleger of Gresham's St. Sabina church, ABC7 reports.

Oppenheimer said Emanuel's letter was about Green's "work as a peace activist," which, Green has acknowledged, he once did in collaboration with the Mayor's office. Green told RollingOut in January:

I voted against [Emanuel] but when he got in and I was given the opportunity to partner my company with his team, I took it to save lives. I was the “Put The Guns Down” ambassador going into schools to promote a safe summer. It was business, I did my part for the community and now that business relationship is done.

However, the release of video footage of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting Laquan McDonald was a turning point for Green, he told RollingOut. Since then, he has been a prolific critic of Emanuel. In December, for instance, he led a protest outside Emanuel's house, demanding that Emanuel resign, the Tribune reported.

Earlier this month, Green was charged with five felonies, including one count of trying to disarm an officer, after an all-day protest against police brutality that he helped organize. The circumstances around those charges are disputed, however; Black Lives Matter Chicago, among others, argued that police actually mistreated Green leading up to the arrest.

Green was released from Cook County Jail last week after supporters paid the required $35,000 of his $350,000 bail.