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Charleston 5 Release From House Arrest

Five union dockworkers, known as the Charleston 5, have been released from more than a year and a half of house arrest.
AFL-CIO
Charleston 5 Release From House Arrest

October 15, 2001

Five union dockworkers, known as the Charleston 5, have been released from more than a year and a half of house arrest.

Last week, South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon removed himself from the case against the Charleston 5 after attorneys for the dockworkers demanded that he be disqualified for gross misconduct. The case was transferred to a local prosecutor, Walter M. Bailey, Jr., Solicitor of the First Judicial Circuit, near Charleston. The removal of Condon from the case cleared the way for lifting the curfew. Today, with Bailey's consent, Judge Vic Rawl signed the order releasing the men.

On January 20, 2000, about 150 members of the AFL-CIO International Longshoreman's Association locals 1422 and 1771 in Charleston, South Carolina assembled for a legal informational picket to protest the use of a non-union crew to unload a Danish freighter. The dockworkers were attacked by 600 police officers in riot gear.

That night, eight dockworkers were arrested and charged with misdemeanors, mainly trespassing, by Charleston municipal police and prosecutors. South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon, an announced candidate for governor, intervened and raised the charges to rioting and conspiracy to riot, which are felonies, and took over the prosecution of the Charleston 5. Although a Charleston judge dismissed these charges for lack of evidence in preliminary hearing, Condon secured felony indictments against the men from a secret grand jury.

While they were under the curfew, the dockworkers were prohibited from leaving their homes between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. unless they were working or at a union meeting.  Travel restrictions prohibit them from leaving the state. The Charleston 5 are still scheduled to go on trial the week of  November 12.

For information: David Ruffin (202) 637-5387
 
 

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