Minneapolis Court Supports Citizens' Right to Protest Foreclosures; Judge Denies Prosecutor's Attempt to Add Additional Trumped-Up Charges
The Occupy movement in Minneapolis reached an important milestone on Monday, July 30, 2012 with the resolution of a case brought against four protesters arrested at a peaceful demonstration on October 20, 2011. Judge Daniel Moreno denied the prosecutor’s attempt to add three additional charges to the original complaint less than two weeks before trial, and prevented the prosecutor from singling out individuals with previous political arrests for harsher treatment. Ultimately, four defendants, Misty Rowan, Katrina Plotz, Ben Egerman, and Peter Leeman agreed to a conviction of one petty misdemeanor each, a non-criminal violation which is basically equivalent to a traffic ticket. Dozens of supporters attended the proceedings in solidarity with the defendants and celebrated the resolution as a victory.
This case and recent arrests of dozens of OccupyHomes MN activists defending the Cruz home in South Minneapolis show that the City of Minneapolis, through the Minneapolis Police Department and City Attorney’s office are attempting to intimidate activists and shut down the Occupy movement with tough tactics and unreasonable charges. The resolution of this case shows that Mayor R.T. Rybak’s efforts to suppress dissent can be defeated with the help of a strong legal defense and solidarity from all who seek to create a more just society.