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Atlanta Protest Charges Not Dismissed, Despite Solicitor General's Promise
By: Atlanta Jail Support
Instead, the protesters were offered an opportunity to accept the charges and pay a fine. When all five chose to plead not guilty, their hearings were reset for March 3.
The rest of the protesters arrested on January 6, whose hearings were scheduled for February 2 and 3, have now all been reset for April.
"The solicitor claimed she hadn't had a chance to look at the police files about our arrests," said one of the protesters, who wished to remain anonymous. "That seems strange, since the solicitor general of the city told a council member that she had looked at our charges and was going to dismiss them."
All twenty-three defendants were arrested on January 6 at a candlelight vigil for Jacob Blake, a Black man who is now paralyzed after being shot by a white policeman in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Atlanta protest was announced on January 5, when Wisconsin prosecutors announced they would not charge Rustin Sheskey, the officer who shot Blake. During the January 6 vigil, approximately 30 protesters gathered near the CNN center on the sidewalk and then marched down Centennial Olympic Park Drive. The group walked less than half a mile before police surrounded and arrested almost all of them. All the protesters were on the sidewalk when they were arrested. Most were charged with obstructing traffic.
"It really seems like there's a breakdown of communication in the solicitor's office," said Adele McLane, a volunteer with Atlanta Jail Support. "The solicitor general told Councilman Antonio Brown that all these charges were going to be dismissed. So why did the solicitor in Judge Ward's courtroom claim she's never even seen the charges?"
The protester who appeared in court yesterday agrees. "I felt like they were really hoping we would plead guilty and pay the fine," the protester said. "I think they know they had no reason to arrest us."
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