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Thousands of LA protesters arrested over curfew won't be charged

Thousands of LA protesters arrested over curfew won't be charged
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Thousands of protesters arrested in Los Angeles over alleged curfew and failure to disperse violations during protests over George Floyd’s death will not be charged, prosecutors announced Monday.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement that his office will take on a non-punitive approach to prosecuting violations outside of violence, looting or vandalism for those arrested during the Floyd protests. 

The non-punitive punishments could be financial or otherwise and are expected to begin being implemented later in the summer. 

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"Peaceful protest is profoundly important, and these protests have rekindled a long-overdue effort to change hearts, minds and institutions. We can't let this moment pass as we have too many times before," Feuer said. 

The city attorney did not give specifics on how the cases would be managed but said a forum would bring protesters and police together to “create an environment where participants really listen to each other.”

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey also announced Monday that charges against those arrested for violating curfew or for failing to disperse would not be pressed “in the interest of justice.”

“I believe whole-heartedly in free speech and support the right of protesters to demonstrate peacefully against historic racial injustice in our criminal justice system and throughout our nation,” Lacey said. “I want to encourage the exchange of ideas and work to establish dialogue between law enforcement and protesters so that we may implement enduring systemic change.”

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Lacey has charged more than 60 people with felonies related to the demonstrations, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

Los Angeles had the largest number of Floyd protest arrests in the country that were tracked by the AP — more than 3,000. Approximately 2,500 of those arrests were for violating curfew or dispersal orders, according to numbers from the Los Angeles Police Department provided to the AP on June 2. 

The city was under curfew for five nights, until the American Civil Liberties Union sued against the curfew on behalf of Black Lives Matter, saying it infringed on First Amendment rights. 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiEric GarcettiBiden meets with foreign leaders as ambassadorships sit vacant Biden taps former deputy campaign manager for ambassador post The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Jan. 6 commission vote delayed; infrastructure debate lingers into June MORE (D) praised the decision, saying in a tweet that “This moment has the potential to bend the arc of our future toward a more fair and just city and country for everyone, if we're willing to seize it.”

Protests erupted across the country in response to Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody after a former officer knelt on his neck for about nine minutes.