Police arrested a Black Lives Matter organizer Monday in Miami after he allegedly stole Donald Trump flags from vehicles.
Police charged Jonathan Gartrelle, 31, with strong-arm robbery and escape, according to the Miami Herald. Charges also included resisting an officer and obstructing a public street.
He was released on bond Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported.
The organizer admitted to grabbing two Trump flags but claims he threw the flags on the ground and didn’t steal them, according to the Herald. He insisted the charges were “overblown.”
“Their goal is to have me in jail for two weeks, get beaten up by some officers, and distract from the movement,” Gartrelle told the Herald.
Gartrelle claimed he pulled the flags from parked vehicles, but the police report obtained by the Herald states the vehicles were moving when the organizer allegedly swiped them.
Video shows an SUV striking Gartrelle days before his arrest during a Cubans for Trump demonstration as he attempted to impede traffic, according to WSVN 7 News.
The @MiamiPD did not pursue or arrest the “Cubans for Trump” caravan drivers who hit a #BlackLivesMatter protestor and waved a gun out the window, but they did charge the protestor with a felony for allegedly stealing a flag from a car #BecauseMiami https://t.co/82u8t44PQJ pic.twitter.com/UoR0OKccoY
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 21, 2020
The Black Lives Matter organizer’s supporters announced the formation of an advocacy group, Justice For Miami, according to the Herald. The group demanded prosecutors drop charges against Gartrelle. (RELATED: Protester Gravely Injured After Toppled Confederate Monument Nails Him In The Head)
“[P]olice in Miami is threatening the victim of a potentially fatal vehicular assault with 30 years in jail simply because they disagree with the speech he’s constitutionally entitled to,” a statement from Justice For Miami read, according to the Florida outlet.
“Having the police arrest you or threaten you with decades in prison for protesting is the kind of thing petty dictators do. Miami was built by many people escaping that very kind of oppression,” the group said.
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