Earlier this year, around 500 protesters marched together near the Suwannee River State Park against the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline that cuts through Suwannee County.
Charges against three Sabal Trail pipeline protesters who were scheduled to be tried in court this week were dropped by the state attorney’s office.
Jeff Siegmeister, state attorney for Florida’s third judicial circuit, said “We made a decision to not give the protesters a platform and not waste the taxpayers money,”
Steven Glazer, the protesters’ lawyer, said he was prepared to fight the case in court, but is happy the charges were dropped.
“Everybody was really ecstatic when they heard the news,” Glazer said. “They were happy they chose to fight the charges and take it to court.”
Authorities dropped nearly three dozen cases last month that stemmed from arrests of protesters against the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, court records show.
We reported earlier that prosecutors and judges dropped the 33 misdemeanor cases while another 14 were resolved by guilty pleas. Most of the cases dropped last month related to criminal-trespass charges from the late summer and fall.
Morton County State’s Attorney’s office had failed to meet its burden of proving that protesters were given proper notice that they were on private land, either with signs or verbal warnings.
We wonder about the future charges from Standing Rock. Some remain incarcerated pending trial. Several others have hearings coming up this summer. We hope to be adding to the list of “Dropped Charges” for additional water protectors.
Some Story Credits: Thomas Lynn