A city judge rejected Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins’ efforts to dismiss disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges against some of the anti-Straight Pride Parade protesters and even warned them to stay out of downtown.
Boston Municipal Judge Richard Sinnott told prosecutors Tuesday he would not drop all the cases the DA had targeted. In another courtroom, Judge Thomas Horgan also ordered three men accused of assaulting police at the same parade to “Stay out of Boston” or risk 90 days in jail.“For those people now tangled in the criminal justice system for exercising their right to free speech — many of whom had no prior criminal record — I will use the legal process to remedy the judge’s overstepping of his role,” Rollins said in a statement Tuesday night.
The counterprotesters were the first 18 of 36 set to appear in court after being arrested during Saturday’s parade. It also marks a showdown between the city judges and the DA who took office promising to decline to prosecute 15 crimes, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, without approval of a supervisor.
Horgan released Benjamin Boyd, Kenneth Kraft Jr., and Timothy “Sage” Rego on their own recognizance after they pleaded not guilty, but he warned them to stay away from Boston.
All three were arraigned on charges including assault and battery on police, with Kraft accused of pushing an officer who was trying to pat him down as the other two allegedly began “pushing and pulling on officers” arresting Kraft during the parade, according to a police report.
The three men can only come back to Boston for court dates and to meet with lawyers, though the judge later allowed Boyd, 32, of Providence, to be in the city for occasional work during the daytime. Rego, 19, is also from Providence and the 24-year-old Kraft’s home is Bethlehem, Pa.
“Stay out of Boston,” Horgan repeated when Rego’s attorney asked that his client only be forbidden from downtown so he could visit relatives in Jamaica Plain.
“They’re going to have to go visit him, then,” Horgan said.
All three declined comment after the arraignment. Rego’s lawyer, Megan Stanley, said being banned from Boston was “unreasonable,” adding visiting family in Jamaica Plain “has nothing to do with this incident.”
Sinnott denied prosecutors’ requests to dismiss the cases against seven protesters in exchange for community service. Only two people accused of those offenses had their cases dropped Tuesday.
Rollins added in her statement that protesters were exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.
“At my request, prosecutors used the discretion constitutionally allocated to the executive branch to triage cases and use our resources most effectively to protect public safety,” Rollins said. “Make no mistake: some people were appropriately arraigned and will be held accountable for actions that put the safety of the public and law enforcement at risk.”
One of the accused, Rod Webber of Holbrook who faced a disorderly conduct charge, refused to go into the courtroom because he was told he couldn’t keep his hat on. He was handcuffed and brought into court to be arraigned. Court officers also took his hat off.
Stoneham resident Joshua Abrams, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, was ordered held without bail despite his lawyer’s pleas about his health concerns.
“What’s somebody with severe health problems doing at a riot?” Sinnott said.
Boston police detail assaults, weapons from anti-Straight Pride protesters
Police reports filed in court Tuesday and a spokesman for the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Union detailed some of the assaults and weapons officers faced Saturday as violent protest swirled around the Straight Pride Parade.
Larry Calderone of the BPPA told reporters that objects thrown at police included “bottles of urine, bottles of chemicals, bottles of unidentified materials, rocks,” and he said that four injured officers have not yet been able to return to duty.
Police reports filed in court as the first set of defendants were arraigned Tuesday describe other instances of crowd hostility, assaults and weapons seized.
At Bolyston and Tremont, police said they saw “two males donning homemade barrel shields. … The officers recovered the first shield without incident. The officers approached a male (later identified as suspect Trevor Steele) … and attempted to seize the shield. Steele pulled away from the officers in an attempt to keep the shield … the crowd around him and the officers began closing in and screaming at the officers.”
“As the officers were handcuffing Steele, a female began kicking the officers.” The juvenile female was arrested, handcuffed and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a shod foot. Her case was referred to juvenile court. Steele, of Maine, pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct Tuesday.
At Cambridge and Sudbury streets, police said they saw suspect Jared Killelea “fighting in a public place, disturbing the peace … officer placed the suspect under arrest for affray. Officers also recovered a folding razor blade (cutting instrument) from the suspect.” Killelea, of Bellingham, pleaded not guilty to disturbing the peace and possession of a dangerous weapon.
Police said they tried to “disperse a large group of protesters from blocking Congress St. … locking arms while refusing to move. … Suspect Michael Doughty was observed punching an Officer in the back. Suspect vigorously resisted arrest. Officers also observed numerous tourists stopped on the street staring as protesters continued to shout obscenities at officers.” Cops arrested 12 people on charges of disorderly conduct and four on charges of assaulting police officers. Doughty, of Falmouth, pleaded not guilty to assault and battery on a police officer.
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