CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The president of Cincinnati's NAACP branch, Christopher Smitherman, is vowing to drink water and live without food in a civil rights protest. Smitherman plans to continue the hunger strike until a Hamilton County Jail inmate held since Sept. 14 receives a trial. Marc Frison, the inmate, is a martial arts instructor arrested after a short-bladed knife was discovered in his backpack. Frison was stopped at a Hamilton County Courthouse metal detector while entering the building for a traffic court date. Smitherman contends the $100,000 bond set on Frison is excessive and says it was set only to punish a black man who aggressively questioned authorities. Prosecutors have described Frison as belligerent after his knife was found at the security checkpoint.
The NAACP chief, a former Cincinnati City Council member, announced the hunger strike started today. He characterized it as a move to show that blacks are treated unfairly by the criminal justice system in Ohio and the story was quickly picked up by the local news media. Information about the Cincinnati NAACP branch is here.