State's Attorney Won't Pursue Charges Against Waterbury Protesters

NBC Connecticut

The Waterbury State's Attorney said she is not pursuing charges against several people arrested during George Floyd protests in Waterbury.

Twenty-eight people, including two juveniles, were arrested on May 31 amid Black Lives Matter protests calling for justice for George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded for air and stopped moving.

State's Attorney Maureen Platt said after reviewing the cases of the adults arrested, she determined they are all minor incidents, and does not intend to pursue charges against them.

"In the spirit of beginning the healing process and allowing an honest and meaningful conversation as to how we can improve and transform our criminal justice system, this office will be assigning these matters to a Connecticut Practice Book sect 36-12 docket. This means that these charges against these individuals will no longer be pursued by the state, and will be dismissed without the necessity of any individual appearing in court," Platt wrote.

Platt explained that during the COVID-19 crisis, every state's attorney has agreed to review minor arrests and determine if they might be dismissed so the state can focus on pursuing more serious offenses.

Platt also said that she has communicated her feelings with the juvenile prosecutor handling the cases of two juveniles who were arrested, and believes they will be handled in the same manner as the adult cases.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said he stands by his department's decision to make the arrests, and has been working with his community since those protests to come to "stable ground."

"These arrests occurred after hours of peaceful protest turned to police cars damaged from physical kicks from protesters, rocks thrown at police cars, police officers having water bottles thrown at them, a convenience store being stormed by protestors and stolen from as well as forced to lock its doors to avoid more theft, traffic being blocked throughout the City for hours, commerce trucks being vandalized and continued threats and actions from the protestors to loot a large local retailer," Spagnolo wrote.

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