Jefferson County Attorney To Dismiss Felony Intimidation Charges Against Protesters
The Jefferson County Attorney will not proceed with felony charges against protesters who demonstrated outside Kentucky Attorney Daniel Cameron's home earlier this week.
Louisville Metro Police arrested 87 peaceful protesters on charges that included a felony — intimidation of a participant in a legal process — police spokespeople said this week. County Attorney Mike O'Connell said he came to the decision after reviewing the law, according to a news release from his office.
"While we do believe the LMPD had probable cause for the charge, in the interest of justice and the promotion of the free exchange of ideas, we will dismiss that charge for each protestor arrested this past Tuesday," he said, according to the release. "We continue to review the misdemeanors and violations for prosecution at a later date."
Police also charged the protesters with the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct and the violation of trespass.
In an emailed statement, LMPD spokesperson Jessie Halladay responded to O'Connell's announcement.
"Officers have to make the best decisions they can with the information they have at the time, and we appreciate that the County Attorney agreed that the officers in this case had probable cause to make the charges they did," Halladay wrote. "The County Attorney must weigh several factors when considering next steps, and we respect the decision he announced today."
Legal experts this week said the felony charges were "outrageous" and being used as a "political weapon."
Cameron's office is investigating the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home in March, for potential criminal charges.
O'Connell's statement said his office would help expunge the felony from the protesters' records 30 days after the dismissal of charges.
This story has been updated with comment from LMPD.