Sacramento prosecutors declined to file charges against one of two protesters arrested during demonstrations last month at the District Attorney’s office.
But charges against a second protester went ahead Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court.
Ebony Ava Harper briefly appeared with attorney Tiffani Sharp on misdemeanor charges of being present in the place of a riot and resisting or defying a police order to disperse connected to her April 12 arrest outside the District Attorney’s 901 G St. offices in downtown Sacramento.
Judge Stephen Howell ordered Harper to return to court Friday for conclude her arraignment.
Meantime, District Attorney’s officials did not file charges against Marilyn Melisa Price. Price also was slated to be arraigned Wednesday. In a statement, Sacramento County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi cited Price’s lack of a criminal record among the reasons not to take the case to court.
“We declined to file charges on Ms. Price because she has no prior criminal record,” Grippi stated. “Her conduct, while a violation of the law, can fairly be described as passive resistance; and she cooperated fully with the officers during the arrest process.”
The DA’s offices have been the site of weeks of protest in the wake of the March 18 shooting death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark by police at his grandparents’ Meadowview home after police reportedly mistook the smart phone in his hand for a weapon.
Sacramento Police say Harper and Price were arrested after the two and other protesters allegedly gathered around a vehicle outside the DA’s office, blocking its driver from leaving the parking lot. Police officials said officers told the group to move away from the car and arrested Harper and Price when they allegedly ignored the order.
Harper declined to comment following the morning hearing. Black Lives Matter Sacramento leader Tanya Faizon did not return a call from The Bee requesting comment, but Black Lives Matter organizers called Harper and Price’s arrests “unlawful” and promised more demonstrations in a statement prior to the Wednesday hearing.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, running for reelection against deputy prosecutor Noah Phillips in a race punctuated by Clark's fatal shooting, has been a prime target of protesters who continue to demand Schubert file criminal charges against the two Sacramento police officers who shot and killed Clark.
Last month in reaction to the protests, crews erected a temporary 10-foot chain-link fence in front of the District Attorney’s building. District Attorney’s officials cited concerns for staffers’ safety and those conducting business at the offices.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento vowed to continue its protests, now in its sixth week, in the statement.
“The fence, and two arrests and police violence, was aimed to scare off peaceful demonstrators. But it won’t work,” the statement read.