MCAO dismisses gang-related charges from last year against protesters
PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel announced Friday her office filed a motion to dismiss all charges without prejudice that accused protesters of being gang members during an October event last year.
“Prosecutors must continually assess all the facts, evidence and circumstances surrounding any case,” Adel said in a statement. “I believe we must not be afraid to change course when it serves the interests of justice and is in the best interest of the community. My decision today reflects just that.”
Several protesters were arrested Oct. 17 and charged with gang-related crimes.
Phoenix police and MCAO prosecutors told a grand jury the protesters met the definition of a criminal street gang because they wore mostly black, carried umbrellas and chanted “All Cops are Bastards,” according to court records obtained by ABC15’s Dave Biscobing.
Prosecutors also testified the protesters could be compared to gangs such as the Bloods, Crips and Hells Angels, Biscobing said in his report.
Last week, a judge dismissed the charges with prejudice — meaning prosecutors could refile charges — and called out officials for their “absurd,” “baffling,” and “disingenuous” conduct, according to Biscobing.
“I believe that just because we can legally pursue charges does not always mean that we should,” Adel said. “It is not an easy decision to step away from a case when we believe crimes were committed, but in this case, it is the right thing to do.”