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Charges Dropped Against L.A. Protester Who Says He Continued Activism In Jail

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Danny Johnson

Danny Johnson has been cleared of charges of attacking a Chicaog Police officer during a protest on May 15. (Credit: Chicago Police)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Charges have been dropped against a Los Angeles man who had been accused of attacking a Chicago Police officer during a protest in the days leading up to the NATO Summit.

Danny Johnson said he never punched a sergeant off his bike as he vociferously spoke out during an anti-deportation protest in the Loop on May 15. But he called his stay at the Cook County Jail “awesome.”

Cook County Judge Marvin Luckman believed him, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Last week, Luckman dismissed aggravated battery and obstructing traffic charges against Johnson, 31, saying there was no “probable cause.”

On Tuesday, Johnson was in Arizona, but said in a phone interview that judge also “kind of belittled me, and called me all types of names, but after his tirade, he said he wasn’t going to send me to jail.”

Johnson, who is a member of Occupy Walk USA, said he cherished his time in Cook County Jail because it gave him a chance to educate inmates about the Occupy movement.

“It was awesome,” he said of his brief incarceration here.

Johnson spent seven days in jail before his friends were able to post 10 percent of his $10,000 bail. During that week, Johnson said he and another Occupy member, who was arrested on a drug charge, had “teach-ins” and sit-ins.”

Johnson said even got a chance to explain the Occupy movement to some sheriff’s officers, the Ryman college graduate said.

“It sucks because of what I had to go through, but it was also good because it opened a lot of people’s eyes about the Chicago Police officers not having integrity,” Johnson said. “I would not speak badly of my time in Cook County Jail.”

Prosecutors said Johnson punched an officer in the chest after he asked Johnson to move off the street.

But Johnson, who wore a black shirt that read “unf**k the world” inside out during his bond hearing, said he never touched the officer.

“An officer grabbed me as I was going through the crosswalk and told me I was under arrest,” Johnson said.

A total of four people were arrested at the May 15 immigration rights march and rally.

Protesters marched from Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Church, at 3442 W. 26th St. in the Little Village neighborhood. They then marched to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in the South Loop.

There, they attempted to block anyone coming or going from the ICE building.

At one point, police pushed protestors back from the building entrance, and all but four obeyed. Those four were arrested.

In a more heated confrontation with police during the NATO Summit on May 19, 45 people were arrested during a protest at Michigan Avenue and Cermak Road just west of McCormick Place.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Rumanna Hussain contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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