All charges resulting from the recent arrests of Occupy Nashville protesters have been dropped and will be expunged.
Assistant district attorney Rosemary Sexton, in a brief statement before the court, asserted that the protesters were given adequate notification of the curfew and knew they would be arrested if they ignored it, but said justice was best served by dropping the charges.
"With all that has transpired since that time, it is in the interest of justice to dismiss these charges," she said.
The dropped charges include those leveled against two working journalists, Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador and MTSU student-journalist Malina Shannon.
Gov. Bill Haslam’s office on Friday announced that the state would request that the charges be dropped.
In a press conference outside the courtroom Monday morning, representatives from Occupy Nashville, including several who had been arrested, declared victory.
“We won again,” Dorsey Malina said. “While we are sure that Gov. Haslam would like some thanks too, since he suggested that our charges be dropped, he will get no thanks from us.”
As for repeated assertions by the state that the plaza has become ground zero for a number of unsavory activities, the victorious protesters took the opportunity to refute those charges to the cameras and assembled media.
“It is disappointing that the state continues to spread lies about us and our message,” said Darlene Neal. “Let us be clear yet again: We have a very strict code of conduct that our members are required to adhere to. None of our members have been defecating, urinating or having orgies in public. We simply don’t have time for that sort of thing.”
A preliminary injunction hearing set for Nov. 21 is the next step in the group’s lawsuit against the state. Attorney David Briley, who is representing Occupy Nashville in the suit, said Monday that he is optimistic about reaching an agreement before then.
Going forward, Occupy Nashville representatives said they will hold a demonstration this afternoon at the headquarters of the nation’s largest private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America.