CHICAGO — People protesting police brutality recently won’t be prosecuted if they faced charges for minor crimes, the State’s Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
The office will not prosecute peaceful protesters, according to a new policy. The policy will apply to thousands of people arrested for things like violating the curfew or disorderly conduct in Chicago, though it excludes people who “intentionally cause[d] harm or damage.”
Police made more than 3,000 arrests in late May and early June, when there was widespread protesting after Minneapolis Police officers killed George Floyd. But many of the arrests were for non-violent crimes or weren’t related to looting and vandalism that was seen at the same time.
People arrested for non-violent crimes — including unlawful gathering, criminal trespass to state-supported land, disorderly conduct, public demonstration and curfew violations — will have charges dismissed, according to a press release from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The office will also not proceed with other charges unless there is footage from a police body camera related to the incident or an officer is a complainant. That will apply to people arrested for resisting/obstructing arrest, assault, misdemeanor aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery to a police officer, reckless conduct, mob action and obstructing identification.
“Over the past month we have seen righteous anger, collective grief, action, and demands for justice,” said Kim Foxx, Cook County state’s attorney, in the press release. “I’m encouraged by the efforts of those who are standing against years of racial injustice to resoundingly state that ‘Black Lives Matter.’
“We have the right to peacefully protest for change, but those choosing to exploit this moment, by causing harm and damage, will be held accountable.”
Prosecutors from the office also won’t “be standing up in court” for protest-related citations from the city, including citations for curfew violations or disorderly conduct, according to the policy.
Attorneys who get pushback on that policy “may state that we will not be prosecuting those who protested peacefully in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders and as such we will not be standing up in court on any of the city’s protest-related cases,” according to the policy.
Read the policy here:
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