Charges dismissed in 37 cases involving people participating in peaceful Black Lives Matter protests

ATLANTA — The Fulton County Solicitor General’s office has dismissed several charges against people involved in the Atlanta protests over the summer.

Keith Gammage’s office says they are thoroughly investigating all arrests that stemmed from the events and have identified a “first round” of cases to dismiss.

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“It was determined that although the arresting agency may have had probable cause to effectuate arrests, it is in the best interest of justice to dismiss these identified cases and to also remove them from the record of the offenders. These dismissals are in line with our Office’s philosophy of justice,” Gammage’s office said in a release.

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Gammage said he is dismissing charges against peaceful protesters, those who were arrested for non-violent, minor offences like disorderly conduct or not dispersing quickly.

So far, he has dismissed 37 cases, but says there will be more.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones talked to one woman who said she was handcuffed and thrown in jail after peacefully recording marchers during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.

Anika Perry said she was baffled why some D.C. protesters who turned into rioters inside the Capitol were allowed to walk away.

“And even when you look at the video, you had some officers clearing the way for protesters,” Perry said.

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Perry said she was recording video of the protesters in Atlanta last year when she got a tap on the shoulder.

‘I remember getting tapped on the shoulder and an officer said, ‘Get down. You’re going to jail.’” Perry said. “And I was, ‘like what did I do?’”

She was arrested for being a pedestrian in the roadway. Perry said she wasn’t even in the road.

Perry is a teacher and is concerned about the arrest being on her record.

“This has definitely led to an emotional strain to the point I have sought therapy,” Perry said.

Grammage said he felt Perry’s pain.

“I think it’s honorable to engage in civil disobedience,” Gammage said.

Gammage was also extremely bothered by the assault on democracy at the Capitol.

“I was and remain outraged as a citizen and as a prosecutor,” Gammage said.

Perry was happy to hear Gammage is dismissing charges like hers. She said she had no plans to pay up.

“I will fight until the very end,” Perry said. “I’m not giving them one red cent.”

In the release, the office said that the decision to dismiss came down to freedom of speech.

“From the inception of our great nation, Americans have engaged in peaceful demonstrations like these that were the catalyst of change in many social justice movements throughout history,” the release said. “For this reason, the Office of the Solicitor-General is a fervent advocate of freedom of speech, which is protected by the First Amendment. However, our civic participation must be socially responsible. In the remembrance of the late John Lewis, ‘good trouble’ is necessary in furthering the fight for justice.”

Gammage said that if anyone believes they were arrested for a non-violent, non-aggressive offense while protesting, contact his office.

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