The Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports Boston Municipal Court Judge Richard Sinnott refused to let its prosecutors drop charges against seven people arrested during protests Saturday over the pro-Trump bigot march through Back Bay and downtown.
All seven were charged with disorderly conduct, some also with resisting arrest. Sinnott did allow prosecutors to drop the cases against two protesters for whom "the police reports did not present probable cause to support charges," the DA's office reports.
DA Rachael Rollins vowed to seek a reversal of Sinnott's decisions:
By compelling arraignment in every case, the judge punished the exercise of individuals' First Amendment right to protest. At my request, prosecutors used the discretion constitutionally allocated to the executive branch to triage cases and use our resources most effectively to protect public safety. Make no mistake: some people were appropriately arraigned and will be held accountable for actions that put the safety of the public and law enforcement at risk. For those people now tangled in the criminal justice system for exercising their right to free speech - many of whom had no prior criminal record - I will use the legal process to remedy the judge’s overstepping of his role.
Prosecutors did move forward with more serious charges against seven other people - who were charged with offenses that included assault and battery on a police office, carrying a dangerous weapon and accosting.
Separately, the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association fired off an angry letter to US Rep. Ayanna Pressley for her support of a fund helping 34 protesters pay for bail and legal expenses.
In the letter, BPPA President Michael Leary told Pressley that, if anything, she should be convincing people to respect the police:
My members have informed me that the individuals who were arrested on Saturday were not peaceful protesters but were committing crimes of assault against Boston Police Officers. In fact at least four officers were injured by actions of some of the protesters. These officers were screamed at, abused and fought by these so-called peaceful protesters. Your actions in support of these individuals serves only to encourage criminal and disruptive behaviors such as those suffered by my members this weekend. This attitude also further contributes to the growing we/they attitude against police officers in this Country. As an elected official and particularly as someone who has historically worked with the Boston Police Department and the BPPA as a member of the Boston City Council you should be working to encourage Boston city residents and visitors to respect and cooperate with Boston Police officers who are there to serve and protect. The BPPA supports the right of free speech, but free speech does not include the right to abuse and assault the men and women who are appointed to keep the peace. ...
I urge you to reconsider your support of the protest bail fund. Instead, I hope you will make it clear to your supporters that you don't approve of violent behavior against public safety personnel.
A list of the arrested people and their charges show that, in fact, most of the people arrested Saturday were not charged with "committing crimes of assault against Boston Police officers."