Spokane 17 Cut Deals With Prosecutors
SPOKANE – Seventeen protesters arrested in a July 4th demonstration in Spokane’s Riverfront park are cutting deals with prosecutors and now the city is looking at it’s rules for protesting in public.
As part of the deal the protesters will have their charges wiped away if they can stay out of trouble in Riverfront Park for the next six months. Also if the protesters head back to the park this 4th of July the rules could be different.
Spokane police video captured the clash between protesters and police on July 4th. The group was demonstrating against police brutality and officers repeatedly asked the group to move because police said they were trespassing on space rented by a local radio group.
When some didn’t leave, 16 were arrested for trespassing and failure to disperse. More than 50 local attorneys volunteered to defend the protesters arguing they didn’t do anything wrong and police had no right to arrest them.
Now six months after clash prosecutors are cutting the protesters a lenient deal. The charges will be dropped, if protesters aren’t convicted of new trespassing or failure to disperse charges in Riverfront Park in the next six months.
“None of us can afford to take this to court and face the police department’s lawyers or anything like this,” protester Dustin Carroll, who is one of those that was arrested, said.
“We all came to same consensus it’s the police department way of saying we don’t have anything on kids lets offer them this and they know none of us can afford to take it to court to get found not guilty so we’re just accepting it on grounds don’t really have a choice,” Carroll added.
The protesters say there’s still no police ombudsman to monitor the police.
The city responded by saying they’re currently negotiating the ombudsman’s power with the police union.
The city has also formed a committee to review how the city handles protests and demonstrations in the city to see if any changes need to be made. A report will be completed next month.