Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 1966 -- Dick Gregory Sentenced to Five Months

May 3, 1966 – Comedian Dick Gregory is fined $1,500 and sentenced to five months in the Cook County jail on charges related to a march through Grant Park nearly a year earlier. Five police officers testify during the trial that Gregory “kicked and hit arresting officers and had to be carried to a squadrol.” [Chicago Tribune, May 4, 1966] No witnesses are called to rebut the testimony. Gregory’s lawyer, Mrs. Jean Williams, says that the length of the jail sentence stems from the fact that “it would be expedient to have him [Gregory] out of circulation in the forthcoming election.” In addition to his civil rights activism Gregory was also running for mayor of Chicago. Four years later, on March 10, 1970, the United States Supreme Court struck down disorderly conduct sentences against Gregory and others who were involved in peaceful demonstrations in the city.

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