Charges Dismissed for Local Anti-Trump Protesters

Eleven J20 protestors who linked arms across Caltrain's tracks on Trump's inauguration day faced misdemeanor trespassing charges.

Protesters block train tracks on Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo: Jessica Christian)

One year ago people took to the streets. They marched for women’s rights, for the rights of immigrants, for human decency, and against one man: newly-elected President Donald Trump. Crowds blocked traffic on major downtown arterial streets, activists waved their fists in the air, and friends linked arms together across Caltrain tracks, shutting down train service for several hours. 

It was the latter which got several protestors in the worst trouble. Eleven people were charged with misdemeanor charges: trespassing on rail transit property, trespassing/entering without permission and refusal to disperse at a riot. Part of the nationwide J20 protest movement, the 11 were going to be taken to trial March 13, but on Thursday, Chief Assistant District Attorney Sharon Woo appeared in court and announced her office could not justify the prosecution. The decision comes after months of pressure on the District Attorney George Gascón’s office to drop the charges.

Although represented by different lawyers the protestors released a joint statement:

“We decided to go to trial instead of taking any deals or diversions, because solidarity doesn’t end with putting our bodies on the line — we also need to leverage our privilege in the (in)justice system. We refused to be intimidated by threats and manipulations of the state, and we encourage people to take a stand and be unafraid. We can win, we have won, and we will continue to fight until justice emerges.”

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi applauded the decision by Gascón to drop the case. Nonviolent resistance has a long and heroic history. Criminalizing it has a chilling effect on dissent,” he said. 

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