The Latest: Arrestee involved in original flag burning case


CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations and gatherings outside the Republican National Convention (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

The man whose three-decade-old protest led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision finding flag burning constitutional was arrested for burning a flag at the Republican National Convention.

Gregory “Joey” Johnson was one of 17 people arrested Wednesday during the protest near the arena housing the convention.

His arrest was confirmed by Cleveland defense attorney Terry Gilbert and Revolution Books of Cleveland, a group issued permits for protests during the convention.

Police did not identify any of those arrested Wednesday.

Preliminary charges included failure to disperse and assault on a police officer.

Johnson was the defendant in the case that led to the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled flag-burning constitutional.

The case dated to Johnson’s burning of a flag outside the Republican National Convention in Dallas in 1984.

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7:45 p.m.

Police say 17 people have been arrested during a chaotic protest outside the arena housing the Republican National Convention.

Cleveland police Calvin Williams said Wednesday night that brings the total to 22 people arrested during the convention, including the previous weekend.

Williams said no pepper spray was used. He says police had fire extinguishers during the event in which a flag was burned in protest.

Williams says 15 people were arrested on charges of failing to disperse and two were arrested on charge of felonious assault on a police officer because of minor injuries to a Cleveland police supervisor and a member of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Williams said an individual whose pants were on fire got defensive when an officer tried to extinguish the blaze and assaulted the officer.

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5:50 p.m.

Cleveland police say about a dozen people have been taken into custody and will be arrested following a chaotic protest near the arena housing the Republican National Convention.

Lt. Michael Butler of the Cleveland Police Department said Wednesday that charges were pending for between 10 and 16 people.

Butler says the individuals are being held in jail vans while police identify and photograph each one, speak to the arresting officers and take a short narrative of what happened.

He says those in custody will be formally booked at a city booking center.

The arrests happened as a protest group tried to burn a flag near Quicken Loans Arena.

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5:45 p.m.

Cleveland police say two officers suffered minor injuries when they were assaulted during a chaotic protest centered on a flag burning near the arena housing the Republican National Convention.

Police issued a dispersal order for everyone, including reporters Wednesday in the area around Quicken Loans Arena.

The protests briefly made it difficult for convention delegates and reporters to enter the arena.

Multiple people with their hands cuffed behind them were detained by police.

Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, which organized the flag burning, says the group hoped to conduct the event as a political statement quickly before police came.

Police say the flag was extinguished and taken away.

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5 p.m.

Chaotic protests around the arena housing the Republican National Convention are making it difficult for some delegates to get inside.

Police officers told delegates Wednesday to line up on a yellow line in the street and ordered all others to leave the area.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams was one of several officers checking delegates’ credentials before letting them through a barrier created by bicycle officers.

The problems for delegates came several minutes after multiple people with their hands cuffed behind them were detained by police in the most chaotic protest to hit the convention.

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4:30 p.m.

Multiple people with their hands cuffed behind them have been detained by police in the most chaotic protest to hit the National Republican Convention.

As a protest group tried to burn an American flag near Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday, and police had to use a fire extinguisher when an individual’s pants caught fire.

Police yelled to people to move back as the flag burning group locked arms.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams was one of several officers in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people controlled.

Police wearing riot helmets arrived on the scene and police horses were being used to create a path to a van for people being detained.

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This story has been corrected to show protests were Wednesday, not Thursday, and to show police say that a fire extinguisher was used, not pepper spray.

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3:45 p.m.

Afternoon crowds are a little thinner in Cleveland’s Public Square as protests continue during the Republican National Convention.

Pockets of people spread around the square promoting various causes Wednesday contributed to a carnival-like atmosphere.

One group draped banners along the ground with photos of people killed by those entering the country illegally.

Nearby, a group assembled a mosaic of white on black cards with words and phrases meant to underscore unity and tolerance.

Two women kissed in front of a group saying gay people were going to hell.

Warm temperatures in the low 80s may be playing a role in keeping people away.

Overhead shots from the Cleveland police helicopter broadcast over Periscope showed sparse crowds.

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11:45 a.m.

A small group protesting Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is making its own wall in downtown Cleveland.

Two dozen protesters wearing canvas sheets formed a wall Wednesday in Cleveland’s Public Square, which is a few blocks from where the Republican National Convention is being held.

Others held a banner saying, “Wall Off Trump.”

There were no signs of trouble. On Tuesday, skirmishes broke out among demonstrators.

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11:30 a.m.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams says that he’s “still a police officer” when asked why he waded into a confrontation involving a right-wing radio talk show personality who showed up Tuesday afternoon with a bullhorn at the city’s Public Square hoping to speak.

Williams ended the melee by grabbing Alex Jones by the arm and hustling him away from the square. A short time later, Williams confronted a group of what he called “hooligans” who marched onto the square dressed as anarchists and gave them an “ultimatum” to get off the streets.

The 52-year-old Williams said at a Wednesday morning news briefing that he spent three hours Tuesday evening riding with bicycle officers as they patrolled downtown.

Williams says he plans to show up wherever there are “issues” in Cleveland during the convention.

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10:40 a.m.

Health officials say no additional people have shown norovirus symptoms after members of the support team for the California delegation to the Republican National Convention got sick.

The health commissioner for Ohio’s Erie County said Wednesday that the 11 people who fell ill are recovering and taking precautions not to spread norovirus, or what’s commonly known as stomach flu. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The symptoms were first reported July 14 as logistics members arrived at a hotel about an hour west of Cleveland.

Health officials are still trying to identify the source. Norovirus can be contracted from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

The health commissioner says officials are working to prevent any sick people from getting on planes.

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12:20 a.m.

A threatened flag burning and a wall-building stunt mocking Donald Trump’s Mexican border plan have potential to fuel already bubbling tensions outside the Republican National Convention.

Anti-government and anti-racism protesters are set to burn an American flag Wednesday at an undisclosed location.

A Latino social justice organization is holding an exercise on the city’s Public Square to “wall off” what they see as Trump’s hateful rhetoric.

Other protests are also planned.

Several protests Tuesday erupted into skirmishes and marchers tried to push their way into blocked off downtown streets.

Officers used bicycles to wall-off intersections and for the first time during the convention ordered demonstrators to disperse under the threat of arrest.