Charges Dropped Against Activist Arrested During Chicago Protest

Charges were dropped during a bond court hearing Wednesday afternoon as protesters gathered to call for London's release

Charges were dropped Wednesday against an activist arrested during a demonstration in Chicago following the release of dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Malcolm London, 22, was charged with felony aggravated battery on accusations of wielding a punch to a police officer. Those charges were dropped during a bond court hearing Wednesday afternoon as protesters gathered to call for London's release. 

“We won’t be at peace until Malcom is released,” the group chanted at the Cook County Criminal Court building located at 26th Street and California Avenue.

London was one of hundreds of protestors who took to the streets after the dash-cam video showing McDonald’s fatal shooting at the hands of a Chicago police officer.

London's attorney warned supporters in the courtroom that if there were any outbursts, offenders would be "spending Thanksgiving in jail eating baloney."

The Black Lives Matter Chicago chapter was set to appear at London’s bond court hearing Wednesday afternoon.

They claim the police department “violated protesters’ freedom to peaceful assembly” and demanded Chicago police immediately drop the charges of all arrested in the protests.

Other people arrested were Dean Vanriper, 38, on three separate counts including felony possession of a controlled substance and two misdemeanor counts for unlawful use of a taser and a knife; and 25-year-old Johnae Strong, 26-year-old May Page and 24-year-old Troy Alim all on isolated accounts of resisting a police officer. It was not immediately clear if those arrested had lawyers.

Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said that outside of the incidents that led to the five separate arrests, the protest was otherwise respectful.

"The Chicago Police Department supports citizens’ First Amendment rights and goes to great lengths to ensure those rights can be exercised," Guglielmi said in a statement Wednesday morning. "While on the whole last night’s demonstrations were peaceful, a few isolated incidents resulted in five arrests and assaulting [of] police officers."

Guglielmi said there was no damage to any private property throughout the protests, which began around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and lasted until the early hours of the following morning.

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