October BLM protesters shut down charges dismissed by Maricopa County
County District Attorney Allister Adel cited limited resources as a factor in the decision to dismiss the charges.
PHOENIX – After months of public outcry, the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office made a decision on Friday to dismiss all charges against protesters resulting from arrests made at a Black Lives Matter protest in Phoenix the year last.
Maricopa County District Attorney Allister Adel released a statement regarding the filed petition, saying it was “in the interests of justice not to prosecute” the charges against more than a dozen protesters.
“I think it’s not always because we can file a legal complaint that we should,” Adel said in a statement. “It’s not an easy decision to walk away from a case when we believe crimes have been committed, but in this case, it’s the right thing to do.”
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Adel noted in the statement that the decision to drop the charges does not mean crimes were not committed on October 17, citing a video that she said showed actions that warranted arrests.
Officers said a “small group of protesters” had begun to march in the area of 10th Avenue and Van Buren Street, blocking traffic. The group reportedly started throwing objects, which emitted smoke at the officers. The demonstrators also reportedly knocked down barricades on the roadway.
The charges against 14 people included aggravated assault of a police officer, riot, unlawful assembly, obstruction of prosecution and obstruction of public roads.
“I think we should not be afraid to change course when it serves the interests of justice and is in the best interest of the community. My decision today reflects exactly that,” Adel wrote in the statement. .