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Some cases against Seattle protesters could be dismissed

June 18, 2020 GMT
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Visitors walk past an upside-down U.S. flag that has "Love+Rage BLM" written on it, Wednesday, June 17, 2020, inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle. Police pulled back from several blocks of the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood near the Police Department's East Precinct building earlier in the month after clashes with people protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
1 of 7
Visitors walk past an upside-down U.S. flag that has "Love+Rage BLM" written on it, Wednesday, June 17, 2020, inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle. Police pulled back from several blocks of the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood near the Police Department's East Precinct building earlier in the month after clashes with people protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said Wednesday his attorneys will review the misdemeanor cases referred to his office involving peaceful protesters and that some could be dismissed or referred to a restorative-justice program.

“After two weeks of anguished demonstrations over the murder of George Floyd and the killing of other unarmed black men by police, it is plain to me that peaceful protesters should not be prosecuted despite having been arrested during events that have sometimes devolved into violent and destructive confrontations with Seattle police and supporting law enforcement agencies,” Holmes said in an emailed statement to The Seattle Times.

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Thirty-seven misdemeanor cases have been referred to his office with half for alleged offenses of obstructing police and failure to disperse, spokesperson Dan Nolte said. Others alleged offenses include resisting arrest, theft, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, and minor assaults. He said most were arrested in the week after the first Seattle protest on May 29, four days after Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Defendants range in age from 18 to 48, with the majority being men in their 20s, he said.

Not all cases, though, will qualify for dismissal or a referral to CHOOSE 180, a restorative-justice program that has partnered with the city attorney since 2017 to divert 18 to 24-year-olds out of the criminal-justice system.

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