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Charges Dismissed Against Ferguson Protesters Who Blocked 101 Freeway

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Protesters set up barricades and shut down the 101 freeway following the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who had shot dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Charges against a group of protesters accused of blocking the 101 freeway during a demonstration in 2014 have been dismissed.

The seven Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested when a section of the freeway near Alvarado Street was shut down on the morning of November 26, 2014. The protest was one of many across Los Angeles and the country that occurred after a grand jury decided not to indict the white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Attorneys for the seven protestors have conteded that they were peacefully demonstrating their right to free speech.

The group, which includes Rosa Clemente, Haewon Asfaw, Povi-Tamu Bryant, Sha Dixon, Todd Harris, Damon Turner and Jas Wade, were accused of blocking the freeway and charged with obstructing a thoroughfare as well as refusing to comply with lawful police orders. A jury initially rejected some of the charges against some of the individuals this March, but were unable to agree on a verdict for all of the counts. On Thursday, prosecutors said they would not pursue another trial against the seven.

Lawyers representing the seven said that yesterday's decision should be a signal to city attorneys to stop filing charges against protesters and instead focus on addressing complaints about excessive police force that have inspired recent protests.

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In December of 2015, another group of Black Lives Matter activists were charged with vandalism and blocking a portion of the 405 freeway during a protest, and were held in a county jail for three days over Christmas.