Charges Dropped for 14 OWS Brooklyn Bridge Protesters
During the second week of Occupy Wall Street, way back in October, a march onto the Brooklyn Bridge gave the protesters a much-needed boost of legitimacy. It caused a minor media uproar when The New York Times was accused of changing around what had happened on the bridge. Six hundred and eighty-six people were brought in on charges for their involvement in the event. Four months later, and we're just beginning to see how the courts are going to treat those involved in OWS. The Times reports this morning that "174 of the 686 cases in which charges were brought have resulted in dismissals." It seems that the Manhattan district attorney's office doesn't even want to bother with these cases in any way, shape, or form.
The Times watched the proceedings of Brooklyn Bridge protester Casey Diebold's trial. In her opening statements, Michelle Bayer, a prosecutor for the Manhattan DA's office, told the judge:
"We cannot prove this defendant's specific conduct or location on the bridge beyond a reasonable doubt," Ms. Bayer said. "Therefore, the people are moving to dismiss this case."
This same thing happened to 13 other defendants.
This is exactly what anyone who has any basic knowledge of the workings of New York's legal system predicted would happen in these cases -- the DA doesn't want to bother with dealing these cases because they tie up the court system, and they're expensive with little to no reward. It's good to see the annoyances of red-tape bureaucracy work in the people's favor every once in a while.