Case nixed against protester accused of causing hearing loss

<p>CLEVELAND &mdash; An assault charge was dropped against one of two people accused of causing permanent hearing loss to a Cleveland restaurant employee while using megaphones during a coronavirus protest outside the eatery.</p>
<p>The county prosecutor’s office this week dropped the charge against Josiah Douglas, 25, of Cleveland, but the charge still stands against Sydney Yahner, 21, of Willoughby, <a href=""> reported.</a></p>
<p>Both were indicted in January by a Cuyahoga County grand jury. Defense attorney, Peter Pattakos, said he was pleased prosecutors dismissed the case against Douglas and was hopeful they would do the same with Yahner’s charges.</p>
<p>He initially called the charges an “outrageous attack” on the pair’s First Amendment right to engage in peaceful protest.</p>
<p>Douglas and Yahner were among a small group of protesting near an outdoor patio at a restaurant in July to protest what they said was the lax response to pandemic protocols there and at other restaurants owned by the same man.</p>
<p>An undercover detective wrote in a police report that Douglas and Yahner repeatedly blasted the megaphones in the face of an employee, who said she suffered hearing loss in one ear.</p>