By Tom Perkins, The Guardian
The vast majority of citations and charges against George Floyd protesters were ultimately dropped, dismissed or otherwise not filed, according to a Guardian analysis of law enforcement records and media reports in a dozen jurisdictions around the nation.
But some prosecutors and law enforcement observers charge that departments carried out mass arrests as a crowd control tactic, as a means to silence peaceful protesters, and as a public relations strategy designed to turn the public against demonstrators by making them appear more violent than they were. And what’s more – some of the citing officers never witnessed the protests in the first place.
“It sends a message that you might get arrested if you express your views and first amendment rights,” said Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s speech, privacy and technology project. “Police absolutely should not be relying on mass arrests to control a crowd or silence people who they disagree with.”
In most of a dozen jurisdictions examined, at least 90% of cases were dropped or dismissed. In some cities, like Dallas and Philadelphia, as many as 95% of citations were dropped or not prosecuted.