Albany judge clears BLM protester of all charges due to missing tapes
An Albany judge decided to dismiss all charges against Lexis Figuereo, who has established himself as one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement in the city. The decision comes after the Albany County District Attorney’s Office admitted it failed to follow evidence discovery rules.
The charges were the result of two protests outside Albany’s south police station in April last year. Figuereo’s attorney, Mark Mishler, called for the charges to be dismissed after discovering that the police department’s Office of Professional Standards made audio recordings of interviews with officers as part of its review of officer behavior during the demonstrations.
Apparently, several officers hid their badges and badges in violation of department policy during the April 22 protest. According to documents, the district attorney’s office admitted they were unaware of those tapes and agreed to have the charges dropped.
In the official letter saying the charges were dismissed, the district attorney’s office said it only realized the department had the tapes after Mishler brought them to their attention on August 1.
“In light of this fact, we have decided to discontinue prosecution in this matter in exercise of our prosecutorial discretion,” Assistant District Attorney Marissa C. Olsen wrote in a letter dated May 16. august.
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Figuereo was one of 14 people arrested on April 22 after city police moved to clear an encampment protesters had set up outside their post. The other defendants had their cases resolved without serving a prison sentence. Figuereo considered his prosecution to be “politically motivated”.
“That’s why we fight for social justice so that others are not put in this situation without support to fight wrongful arrests and prosecutions,” he said in a statement.