Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Local Protester on Terror Watch List, Released From Custody on Bond

James Ian Tyson
Twenty-seven year-old James Ian Tyson was arrested by police on Sunday night on North Caldwell Street for driving with a revoked license. After his arrest, authorities attempted to keep Tyson in custody for the duration of the Democratic National Convention on the grounds that he is a known activist that is currently on a national terror watch list.

In an effort to keep Tyson in jail, his bail was set at $10,000 by Chief District Judge Lisa Bell. Bell based her decision on information provided to her by the arresting officer, which also requested that Tyson not be released during the convention, out of concern for public safety.

However, no further information could be provided to support the decision to hold Tyson, who also  lacks anything in his criminal record that would indicate a dangerous behavior. The Charlotte native also has a longstanding bond to many of the city's activist circles. These elements caused Judge Bell to reconsider her decision and lower Tyson's bond to $2,500. Lowering his bond enabled Tyson's release at around 8:00 Monday night.

For reference, driving while license revoked (DWLR) in Mecklenburg County can carry a bond ranging from $100 up to $2,500. Other individuals arrested for DWLR on Sunday received bonds under $500, according to Mecklenburg County records.

After his release, Tyson released a statement voicing his innocence and his belief that his bond was set at an unusually excessive amount in an effort to silence him during the DNC. Authorities maintain that public safety is their top priority when they encounter cases of this nature.