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Judge orders 2 held on NATO protest-related attacks on cops

Raziel Azuara

Raziel Azuara

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Updated: July 2, 2012 8:25AM

Two anti-NATO protesters were jailed Monday after being charged with aggravated battery to a police officer during the rockier moments of Sunday’s demonstrations.

Raziel Azuara, 24, is accused of throwing a light bulb filled with red paint at police officers in the 2200 block of South Michigan, while Yonte Harris, 19, allegedly got into a tussle with a cop on a bicycle in the 300 block of South Wabash, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.

Cook County Judge Israel Desierto ordered Azuara held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Harris was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Scaduto said that as the police asked the crowd to move back, Azuara pushed against officers, holding the light bulb he later threw, striking a helmet-wearing officer in the head before it bounced onto another officer’s shoulder.

Yonte was walking with a group of protesters when he put his legs over the officer’s bike, and the two struggled with the bicycle before Harris pushed it into the officer’s chest, according to Scaduto.

The officer suffered a scratch to the arm and knee pain, she said.

Azuara, who appeared in bond court wearing a black T-shirt, has three prior misdemeanor arrests relating to “tagging” activities. In 2008, he defaced a CTA window, writing: “We kill cops.”

A year before that, he was convicted of possession of paint with intent to deface. He had 19 cans of spray paint and a digital camera that contained pictures of places he intended to target, Scaduto said.

Azuara was also convicted in 2006 of possession of paint charge.

Both Azuara and Harris admitted harming the officers in written statements, Scaduto said.

Azuara, a Mexican national, who lives on the Southwest Side, works for a paint company, according to his attorney, Stuart Smith.

Harris, a South Side resident, is a student at Moraine Valley Community College.

According to a police report, the officer Harris allegedly struck was assigned to a skirmish line, trying to keep protesters from going east on Jackson at Wabash. Harris tried to breach the skirmish by leaping over the bicycle, the report said.

After he became entangled in the bicycle, Harris tried to take control of the bicycle and began to pull it away from the officer and struck the officer in the torso and legs, the report said.

Harris, who also was charged with resisting arrest, flailed his arms and kicked when officers tried to handcuff him and had to be subdued, the police said.

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