Prosecution rests in Wisconsin parade suspect’s trial
NEW YORK – A federal jury found an Army veteran guilty on a charge he violated a military protest law at a New York City parade in April.
The jury, however, returned a not-guilty verdict on a charge he struck a police officer as he was getting on a subway train. He said the punch was in self-defense.
James Thompson, 26, was charged with three counts of violating the laws on marching and picketing in a parade or procession, or as part of an assembly of persons, on an authorized sidewalk, and also of a violation of the terms of his bond for a previous arrest for an alleged violation of a similar law and disorderly conduct.
The jurors had begun deliberating Tuesday afternoon before breaking for dinner.
A federal judge accepted Thompson’s plea of not guilty on the most serious charge, the third-degree violation, but told him he could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the more serious charges related to the July 4 parade.
The jury heard testimony this week in the case against Thompson, who spent months in jail on a speeding ticket when he refused to take court-ordered chemical tests.
He said the police officer punched him and he was shocked by the force of the blow. He went to the officer yelling at him to get out of his way. Thompson said he hit the officer because he did not have a permit on the street.
Prosecutors said Thompson was a veteran who was protesting against the War in Iraq, and he was not authorized to be on the streets of New York during the Independence Day parade.
Thompson has been unemployed for about a year. He lives with his parents in Middletown, Conn., and has attended high school in Hartford.
A judge had imposed a five-year probation sentence on Thompson after his last violation on June 10, 2003, of a similar military protest law. Under the terms of that probation, Thompson was prohibited from any