While George Floyd was being eulogized Tuesday, prosecutors
wrapped up their week-long review of protest-related charges, dismissing 796
criminal cases as a result.
Prosecutors conducted a review that divided the cases
between those people who sought to do harm others and property vs. those
arrested for simple civil disobedience. They began filing motions to dismiss
before sunrise Tuesday.
The cases dismissed were for non-violent misdemeanor
offenses, mostly obstructing a highway and trespassing.
“The job of the prosecutor is to seek individualized justice
in every case,” Ogg said. “While probable cause existed for the arrests of
those people who refused to disperse after being ordered to do so by police,
our young prosecutors worked hard to identify the few offenders who came to
inflict harm on others and intentional damage to property.”
“The result of their case-by-case review is astounding,” Ogg
Out of a total of 654 individuals criminally charged as a
result of the protests, only 51 adults and one juvenile now remain charged with
active cases. Their cases include 35 misdemeanor charges and 19 felony charges;
charges such as weapons offenses and aggravated assault of a peace
With the dismissals, the people whose cases were dismissed
no longer charged don’t face the prospect of being saddled with a criminal
prosecution that could jeopardize future educational, employment and other
opportunities. Expunctions will be agreed upon, although those charged
may need representation to clear their records. “With so many professionals
wanting to contribute, I am confident that the criminal defense bar will
volunteer their services to clean up the criminal records of all involved,” Ogg
Dismissing the charges also allows law-enforcement
authorities to focus resources on those who endanger public safety, Ogg said.
“We will always protect the First Amendment rights of
peaceful protestors,” Ogg said. “The only people I will be prosecuting are
those who intentionally hurt others and intentionally destroy property.”