from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Queens, NY – A Queens jury today found four men not guilty of obstructing the NYPD’s 103rd Precinct last year. The high-stakes trial for political protesters began October 23, delayed several times by weather, and almost ended with a mistrial because of the highly unusual arrest of a sitting juror last week.
Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Morgan Rhodewalt and Robert Parsons were charged with two counts of Obstruction of Government Administration, a Class A misdemeanor which carries a possible sentence of 12 months in jail. Prosecutors failed to convince the jury that the men, who were part of a group of 20 who loudly protested the NYPD stop-and-frisk policy last November 19, had disrupted normal functioning of the precinct.
Dix said today, “The prosecution attempted to make us pay a heavy price for protesting against stop and frisk. They crafted the case from the beginning, and failed in this objective. They put on a case, but couldn’t provide any evidence that we obstructed the precinct, or that we intended to do that. At the 103rdPrecinct last year, and today in court, we delivered a loud message against NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, and we won’t stop protesting this unjust, unconstitutional, racist, policy.”
The jury found the defendants guilty of one count of disorderly conduct, a violation. They will be sentenced January 7. 13 more defendants await trial next year for the same incident.