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Texas authorities dismiss charges against dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters

Texas state troopers responding to protesters at the University of Texas at Austin Austin American-Statesman via Associated Press/Photo by Aaron E. Martinez

Texas authorities dismiss charges against dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters

Nearly 80 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested for illegally protesting on the University of Texas at Austin campus had their cases dismissed, Travis County Attorney Delia Garza confirmed on Wednesday. Prosecutors weighed the evidence and determined the legal burden of proof cannot be met beyond a reasonable doubt in these 79 criminal trespassing cases, she said. Prosecutors considered the evidence and legal considerations, including potential violations of constitutionally protected free speech rights, Garza added. The county prosecutor's office thoroughly reviewed every individual case to determine how justice would best be served, she added. It’s the second group of pro-Palestinian protesters to have their trespassing charges dropped after dozens arrested on-campus days earlier failed to meet the probable cause requirements for prosecution, Garza said.

Are all the protesters getting off scot-free? Only the 79 individuals charged with criminal trespassing on the south lawn of the UT-Austin campus on April 29 will have their charges cleared, Garza said. This does not include protesters with charges beyond trespassing, as those cases remain active in the attorney’s office, she added.

A New York judge also ruled last week to drop charges against more than 30 protesters arrested on Columbia University’s campus during a pro-Palestinian protest. The cases lacked evidence towards identifying suspects, according to Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Stephen Millan. However, 13 other protesters’ charges would remain active after they refused a deal with prosecutors, he said.

Dig deeper: Read my report about the protests at Columbia and UT-Austin in April.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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