MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter III and the city attorney Lyndsey Olson announced Friday that the city would be dismissing cases of those who engaged in peaceful protest in the city following the death of George Floyd.
The city attorney’s Community Justice Unit is reviewing the cases to make distinctions between those engaging in their First Amendment rights of peaceful protest and those who engaged in aggressive, harmful behavior.
“Voices of peaceful protest have challenged and renewed our country’s spirit in every generation,” Carter said. “I fully support this approach, and appreciate the critical distinction between those who sought to build a better future for our community and those who tried to tear us down.”
The attorney’s office is responding to nearly 100 cases of civic unrest since May 25.
For those who the Community Justice Unit determines engaged in something beyond peaceful forms of protest, the attorney’s office says they plan to offer alternatives to traditional prosecution, which would use “restorative justice principles to engage with first-time or non-violent offenders.”
That would manifest in conversations with community members, and developing plans to repair the harm done. Once completed, a request for expungement would be submitted for courts’ approval.
“Supporting healing in our community following the death of George Floyd means making a distinction between those peacefully protesting and those causing destruction in our community. Our plans for resolving these cases strikes this critical balance,” Olson said.
Source: CBS Minnesota