Judge drops charges against 28 ‘Occupy Rochester’ protesters
Rochester City Court Judge Teresa Johnson dismissed charges against 28 people affiliated with the “Occupy Rochester” protest on Thursday, according to The Democrat and Chronicle.
“The First Amendment prevailed today in City Court,” said KaeLyn Rich, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Genesee County Chapter. “We’ve argued that the mass arrest of peaceful protestors was unjustified, and the judge’s rulings validate that point. We will continue working with the city to ensure that Washington Square Park remains a center of peaceful protest in Rochester.”
The protesters had faced charges of trespassing and violating a city ordinance setting park hours.
“I already knew this was going to happen,” one of the protesters said. “The reason to charge us was silly.”
In November of 2011, the city agreed to allow “Occupy Rochester” protesters to camp at Washington Square Park until January 11th. The city is now trying to negotiate a concrete date to end the occupation, hoping to convince the protesters to move out in spring.
Photo credit: David Shankbone