BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Charges of inciting a riot have been dropped against an Alabama comedian who spoke at a rally following the police killing of George Floyd and was accused of helping spark unrest in Birmingham.
Jermaine “FunnyMaine” Johnson was arrested on the misdemeanor charge and released after posting $500 bond, said his lawyer, Emory Anthony.
Johnson spoke at a peaceful rally in a downtown park on May 31 before a crowd went a few blocks away to Linn Park, where a Confederate monument was badly damaged. People later spread out through the area, smashing windows, setting fires and looting despite cautionary words in Johnson’s speech.
The damaged obelisk was removed.
On Wednesday, Johnson appeared in Birmingham Municipal Court before Presiding Judge Andra Sparks, al.com reported. During the hearing, city officials dismissed the charge, the news site said.
“We believe these charges never should have been brought against Mr. Johnson,” Anthony said at a news conference after the appearance. “Mr. Johnson never incited a riot.”
Johnson thanked God and those who supported him following his arrest, including Eric Hall of Black Lives Matter.
“Thank you guys for fighting and standing up,” he said. “The citizens – y’all stepped up and showed out. You deserve better. You’re going to get it. Change is on the way. You should be proud. This isn’t about me. This is about y’all.”
The comedian is known for his videos about the University of Alabama football team.