Protest charges dropped 

Washtenaw County prosecutors have again come up short in their attempts to hang felony convictions around the necks of protesters who demonstrated against a Ku Klux Klan rally in Ann Arbor last year.

Friday Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Donald E. Shelton dismissed felony riot charges against eight people who protested at the May 9 rally at city hall.

Shelton’s opinion said the counter-demonstrators, who were accused of throwing rocks at the police and KKK, were not rioting because they did not risk causing "public terror or alarm." Prosecutors unsuccessfully argued that police are part of the public under the riot statute.

The defendants, ages 18 to 24, faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The dismissals are a coup for the anti-Klan protesters and their lawyers, who have routinely referred to the prosecutions as a "witch-hunt." Washtenaw prosecutors originally charged more than 20 people in connection with the counter-protest. Most of those charges have been dismissed.

In June, a Washtenaw circuit court jury acquitted 16-year-old Ryan Lang of rioting ("Prosecution or persecuted?" MT, July 14—20, 1999). In July, a district judge dropped misdemeanor malicious destruction of property charges against nine people accused of damaging a temporary fence the city had rented for the rally.

Shelton did uphold two felony charges – an inciting to riot charge against Robin Alvarez of Ann Arbor and an aggravated assault charge against East Lansing resident Thomas Doxey Jr. Those cases are scheduled for trial between now and October’s end.

Three misdemeanor charges – two assaults and one property damage – were still pending Monday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation