Members of the activist group Refuse Fascism Thursday celebrated the dismissal of all remaining charges against a group of nine people who were arrested during a 2017 protest that included a temporary blockage of the Hollywood (101) Freeway in downtown Los Angeles.
The case made headlines when it was revealed during court proceedings that the Los Angeles Police Department had sent an informant to several of the group’s meetings, raising accusations that the department was spying on a private organization.
Nine members of Refuse Fascism were originally charged with various misdemeanors stemming from the 2017 anti-Trump protest. Some of the defendants reached plea agreements, but others continued to fight the charges.
“Despite having proof that these were just ordinary concerned citizens banding together for social justice, the LAPD along with the L.A. City Attorney decided to prosecute the nonviolent protesters,” said Paul Garcia, attorney for one of the defendants.
“… Finally, after admitting that their own witnesses did not want to testify again, they dismissed the case,” Garcia said.
Rob Wilcox, spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office, told City News Service prosecutors were having trouble getting witnesses to appear.
“Due to the age of the case, witnesses have either been reassigned, moved or are otherwise unavailable,” Wilcox said. “Those were the stated reasons in court.”
Another attorney for the protesters noted that the case involved two mistrials, one of which occurred during the coronavirus pandemic.
“As we all know the fight for justice has only begun, but today is a proud day for those who believe in the First Amendment and who stand against government and police tyranny,” attorney Michael Plaut said.
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