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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Cyclists, Reporters Cleared of Charges From Convention

September 06, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Two reporters and 10 bicycle protesters Tuesday were cleared of charges related to a downtown demonstration during last month's Democratic National Convention.

Charges against two other bicyclists, the only counts remaining from the Aug. 15 arrests, are expected to be dropped today, Deputy City Atty. Howard Gluck said.

"I wasn't going to go tying up these courts when penalty has been exacted and I have wife beaters and child abusers and drunk drivers to prosecute," he said.

Gluck recommended the dismissals because most of the 70 adults arrested had spent time in jail and had their bikes temporarily confiscated. Charges against 56 adult cyclists and one juvenile were dropped Friday.

The protest ride through downtown was intended to promote a more bike-friendly environment. Police said the cyclists zoomed through traffic, ignored safety, frightened pedestrians and nearly caused accidents.

Each was charged with a misdemeanor count of blocking a thoroughfare and two infractions--going through a stop sign and going the wrong way on a one-way street, Gluck said.

Among those arrested were Associated Press broadcast correspondent Brian Bland and Chicago Tribune reporter Flynn McRoberts, who were covering the demonstration and displayed press credentials. Both reporters said they were riding legally when arrested.

Tuesday's actions came in four Los Angeles County courtrooms.

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