SC librarian and family arrested at abortion rally seek jury trials

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The lawyer for five of the people arrested after a Greenville pro-abortion rights rally has asked for jury trials for each of them, saying “I don’t see where anyone committed any crime.”

Will Maxy said he has reviewed a widely seen video of the incident in the middle of Main Street and it does not show his clients touching the officers first.

He is representing Anthony Giordano, a 61-year-old librarian; Giordano’s wife, Nan, 62, a therapist; and two of their children, Chloe, 23, who is joining the Peace Corps, and Maggie, 26, a graduate student. He also is representing Reese Madden, a 22-year-old Greenville resident.

“These are really, really good, kind people,” Maxy said. “People who are civic-minded.”

Also arrested was Joanne Schmidt, 62. All are from Greenville. Anthony Giordano is charged with resisting arrest, the others with interfering with a police officer. All are charged with pedestrian in the roadway and all the charges are misdemeanors.

The video showing a confrontation between police and people protesting the U.S. Supreme Court decision that there is no constitutional right to abortion and subsequent arrests has gone viral on social media. Many people criticized the police use of force.

The Police Department is conducting an internal review, which Sgt. Johnathan Bragg said is standard procedure. None of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.

He said Wednesday the review had just started and did not know how long it would take.

Incident reports filed by 10 officers describe a scene of yelling, cursing and people pressing into the street toward counter protesters on the other side.

Maxy said he has asked the city for body cam footage and all other evidence the police have.

Sgt. Jonathan Paramore said in his report he pushed Madden in the upper chest with both hands and when Madden pushed him back he “pulled him down into the roadway.”

When other people came up behind him, Paramore said he dragged Madden across the road to get away from them before other officers stepped in to place him in handcuffs.

Officer Samuel Laflore said in his report Nan Giordano had been warned several times to stay out of the road. When he attempted to arrest her, he said, she pulled away from him and clenched her arms to try to avoid being handcuffed.

Two women tried to help her, he said, and when he was trying to subdue one, another woman came up.

“I was able to place the elderly female on the ground in a sitting position,” he wrote. “Before I could move to finish placing either female in handcuffs, another unknown female in a white shirt advanced and was attempting to interfere with the arrests. I pushed this female one time, and then I drew my issued taser. I displayed a warning arc with my issued taser as trained, as members of the crowd had already shown that they were willing to physically engage with police officers who were attempting to effect arrests.”

He said the “warning arc had the desired effect.”

Officer Morgan Kallio described the scene after people were told to stay out of the street. A woman, later identified as Chloe Giordano, approached officers.

“I grabbed her around the waist and prevented her from moving closer to the officers who were effecting an arrest. I placed my right hand on her wrist and had my left arm around her waist. Lt. Paramore assisted me in controlling the suspect. She grabbed her right wrist while I shifted and grabbed her left wrist. I fed my left arm under her left arm and placed her left wrist behind her back. She was placed in handcuffs. Once she was handcuffed, a male then approached me and began to yell loudly. He moved close to me attempting to grab the female who was arrested. I placed my hand on his chest. He continued to move closer to me and increased his verbal aggression. I then placed my left forearm across his chest to push him away from me and prevent him from coming any closer. I then received assistance from other officers and he was removed and arrested.”

Bragg said police are not releasing the videos recorded by officer’s body cameras.