Criminal charges against 14 protesters arrested following Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations in Salem, Oregon, were dropped Monday.
“The Salem Police Department arrested 14 people involved in the protests on charges of riot and interfering with a peace officer on May 31 and June 1,” the Statesman Journal reported.
The article continued:
Many of those arrested said they were peacefully protesting and were unable to leave in time after police began enforcing a citywide curfew. The protests marked the first time the city instituted a curfew and used tear gas on residents. Officials with the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said the cases were dismissed out of the need to serve the “interests of justice.”
“These arrests for causing public alarm and/or disobeying lawful police orders were supported by probable cause and necessary to maintain public safety,” said Marion County Deputy District Attorney Amy Queen, according to the Darien Times.
“After reviewing the full police reports it was determined that continued involvement by the criminal justice system would not serve the interests of justice, therefore, these cases have been dismissed,” she continued.
Prior to the charges being dropped, some of those arrested faced a felony charge for engaging in alleged “tumultuous conduct,” the Journal report noted.
In addition, Multnomah County District Attorney-Elect Mike Schmidt said June 17 that once he took office, he would consider dropping charges against nonviolent protesters arrested during demonstrations in Portland, according to the Oregonian.
“I am going to be looking really hard at what types of cases we are going to be prosecuting going forward from those protests,” he noted.
“There are DAs across the country that have said look, if these are essentially people practicing their First Amendment rights — they are out there telling the leaders the criminal justice system needs to change — we are not going to prosecute those,” he concluded.