Occupy Columbia: Charges against 19 dismissed

Just got this:

Charges Against Occupy Columbia’s Nineteen Protesters Dismissed
Occupy Columbia to Hold Press Conference

ACTION ALERT: It our great pleasure to inform those concerned as well as all parties involved, that all charges against the nineteen protesters that were arrested on November 16th of 2011 have been -dismissed.  These charges were dismissed last night, Wednesday November 30th, 2011.

It is to our great pleasure to annouce as well, today at 1:30PM Occupy Columbia is to hold a Press Conference to discuss the dismissal of the case that would have convicted the nineteen protesters.

Occupy Columbia, Protesters, as well Supporters are ecstatic to start this month of Holidays off right: trully this is the Season to be Thankful and Merry!

Get up-to-the-minute updates from our twitter account: @OccupyColumbia.

Occupy Columbia

I pass it on FYI; I don’t think I’ll make it to the presser. But when I learn more, I’ll share it.

12 thoughts on “Occupy Columbia: Charges against 19 dismissed

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    Haley’s team tried to get the case moved to federal court. Given that it was the feds who made the Civil Rights Act apply back in the 60s, it was an interesting maneuver.

    I thought Claudia Smith Brinson’s piece in yesterday’s The State was excellent.

  2. Silence

    I 100% agree that the Occupy crowd has the right to protest. I’m not convinced that they have a right to camp out on public property though. Chief Carter should warn and cite them for violating Sec. 14-105 of the city’s municipal code which makes urban camping unlawful. Where ya’ at Chief? Mayor Benjamin, Mr. Gantt? Anyone? Anyone?

  3. Phillip

    @Silence: Wouldn’t it be true that the city does not have jurisdiction over the state capitol grounds? the municipal code does not apply here, I would think. And if I’m not mistaken the Mayor has been heard from, both to voice support for the right of the Occupy group to assemble and protest and to make it clear he’s not lifting a finger to assist in removing, arresting, etc., them.

  4. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Kathryn Fenner–Yikes–I’m, like, a lawyer, y’know, and I somehow confused the criminal charges against the Occupants, which were nolle prossed by the solicitor (declined to prosecute) with the civil case against the Gov., which the Gov wants to move to federal court.

    @ Phillip– I think the City Police have statewide jurisdiction, and can arrest anyone anywhere (except maybe Fort Jackson or other federal property), but the general agreement is that they stick to their turf. I also believe this includes the State House grounds–a purse-snatcher can’t seek refuge there. City laws do apply there, plus any additional state laws specific to the State House. The issue is not camping. They aren’t camping as their primary activity. They are “occupying” as a means of nonviolent protest. When they occupy at night, they sleep, and using tents is nice.

    I can’t erect a billboard on the State House grounds, and (subject to more crazy rulings from the US Supremes) I can’t, of right, carry a “Drink Coca-Cola” sign or “Buy your next car at JT’s Kia.” I can, however, carry signs that are a form of political speech. I thought Brad captured the distinction very well when he visited the Occupy site the night after the busts.

  5. Silence

    @Philip: Why wouldn’t the city have jurisdiction over the state capitol grounds? It IS located inside the city limits of Columbia. The code defines public parks as “municipal parks, public playgrounds, public plazas, attractions, and monuments.” The statehouse grounds would certainly qualify as a public plaza, or attraction, and there are many monuments there.

    Then, though I’m NOT a lawyer, there’s this section of State law:
    “SECTION 10-11-100. Other police officers to enforce laws on certain state property.

    In addition to the enforcement of Sections 10-11-30 to 10-11-70 and subsection (2) of Section 10-11-80 by the watchmen mentioned in Section 10-11-90, all lawful highway patrolmen and police officers of the city of Columbia may enforce the criminal laws of this State and the provisions of such sections and subsection within the area described in Sections 10-11-30 and 10-11-40 and subsection (2) of Section 10-11-80.”

    And this one to boot: “SECTION 10-11-20. Unauthorized use of State House or grounds. It shall be unlawful to use the State House or grounds for any purpose not authorized by law. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding thirty days or by a fine of not over one hundred dollars.”

    I’m pretty sure that camping is not a use that is authorized by law.

  6. Steve Gordy

    They used to call such encampments ‘Hoovervilles’ during the Great Depression; maybe this one should be renamed ‘Haleyville’.

  7. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Silence–well-done! You are correct and your research is impeccable. One thing, though. They aren’t camping, as in using the State House as a KOA. They are staying overnight as a protest, and using tents to make themselves more comfortable–the tents are ancillary to their free speech expression.

  8. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Steve Gordy– Funny! One thing, though: I think the primary complaints, to the best I can suss them out, of the OC are not chiefly, for once, Nikki’s fault. It’s more national policy–not that Nikki doesn’t heartily endorse them, I suspect. State law and fiscal policy isn’t primarily responsible for the transfer of wealth to the wealthy. SC didn’t bail out any financiers who then gave themselves fat bonuses, for example.

  9. j

    Steven, if you live in Lexington, I presume you were looking at the Capitol going east this morning on your way to work or were you driving west this afternoon going home? Either way you were looking into the sun and in heavy traffic. I question if you’ve ever seen a hobo in your life much less a hobo camp. Maybe homeless, but are you confusing the two – protesters or homeless individuals who frequent the capital grounds. Maybe they were the Haley sanitary enforcers checking the flowers for human or dog waste!

  10. Silence

    @ Kathryn: I agree that the camping is is merely incendental to their actual protest activity, but (once again I’m not an attorney) I would argue that the camping is not neccessary for them to exercise their right to political expression.

    Show up in the AM, or maybe after lunch, loaf around with signs, drink some Starbucks, play on the iPhone, chant about whatever and then go home! Come back the next day. Rinse, repeat.

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