NewsLocal News

Actions

Charges dropped against City Hall protesters including Fried, Book

court
Posted at 3:11 PM, Jun 02, 2023

State Attorney Jack Campbell dropped all charges Friday against Nikki Fried, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Senate Democratic minority leader Lauren Book, and other protesters that protested outside of Tallahassee City Hall in April.

According to court filings from the state attorney's office, it is unlikely that the court would impose any meaningful sanction due to the lack of criminal history from any of the protesters and their cooperation with officers.

The court document read:

The State has no interest in encouraging more unlawful behavior through extending their notoriety as they move through the court system.

State Attorney Campbell said greater penalties will be sought if future protesters being arrested resist, assail law enforcement or if this consequence prove insufficient.

Fried and Book both acknowledged the charges being dropped Friday. Fried posted a statement on Twitter:

Book released a statement:

"The right to protest is a founding principle of our democracy, and I take exception to the assertion that I somehow ‘elected to use the criminal justice system to amplify (a) political agenda.’ We must all feel safe using our voices and exercising our fundamental rights as Americans to speak up and speak out. While it was certainly not my plan to get arrested on the evening of April 3, I was nonetheless proud to join this group of women sitting peacefully, singing, and exercising our First Amendment rights to protest Florida’s dangerous abortion ban, which passed through the Senate earlier that day. Women’s voices must be heard, and our reproductive and First Amendment rights must be respected. I will never be shy about using my voice or standing up for the rights of all Floridians."

In early April, Fried, Book and members of a group protested a six week abortion ban in Florida. According to Tallahassee Police Department, the protesters were given multiple warnings throughout the day that anyone refusing to leave the premises at sundown would be subject to arrest.

TPD said majority of the crowd exited the property after sunset, but 11 people refused to leave despite the requests to do so. Those people were arrested for trespassing.

Book and Fried among protesters were released the night of the incident, just before midnight.

The full court document is attached below:

Charges dropped against Cit... by WTXL ABC 27