St. Louis County is marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown by charging hundreds of people arrested by the St. Louis County Police in protest actions that occurred since August of 2014. The State Prosecuting Attorney has refused to pursue these charges. The City of Ferguson, where most incidents occurred, has not pursued charges.
Nonetheless, the newly-appointed County Counselor has stepped in to file ordinance violations. This is the same entity that currently defends St. Louis County Police Department Chief Jon Belmar against numerous civil rights lawsuits stemming from these protests.
It is unclear why the St. Louis County Counselor has reached a different conclusion from other local prosecutors who have rightly decided not to pursue charges. But, it is clear that many individuals will not receive notice of these delayed charges and will ultimately be issued arrest warrants.
We condemn this action as a blatant violation of constitutional rights and an appalling misuse of our already overburdened court system.
We urge the St. Louis County Counselor’s office to do the right thing and help heal the region by dismissing all of these cases immediately.
Those who have been charged and need legal representation should complete an online form at: http://bit.ly/1JWkTnZ
ACLU of Missouri
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Arch City Defenders
National Association for Public Defense
National Lawyers Guild
American Civil Liberties Union
National Lawyers Guild – St. Louis Chapter
Black Movement Law Project
National Press Photographers Association
Center for Constitutional Rights
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
St. Louis University Civil Litigation Clinic
Mound City Bar Association
National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild