Fitful start for Occupy Atlanta trial
2:35 pm, December 17th, 2012
Atlanta Police officers spent Monday morning herding dozens of Occupy Atlanta protesters and their supporters outside the Municipal Court courtroom where the trial for about 80 demonstrators arrested last year is slowly cranking up.
Municipal Court Chief Judge Crystal Gaines has barred anyone but the protesters and their lawyers from her courtroom, so police officers shooed the news media and the rest of the crowd into an overflow courtroom next door where a monitor streamed video from Gaines’ courtroom.
There was little to see: Gaines herself made no appearance in the morning, huddling in chambers with some of the cadre of lawyers representing the demonstrators. Eventually, Davis Boazman partner Mawuli Davis emerged to say court would reconvene at 2 o’clock and that anyone who might choose to enter a guilty plea could do so at that time. Then she will hear arguments on some of outstanding motions, and the trial itself will start Tuesday morning.
At least one person has entered a guilty plea to the misdemeanor charge, according to State Rep. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, who is himself among the arrestees. Another protester said Gaines agreed to drop the charges if the arrestee was not re-arrested for one year.
The largest group of defendants was arrested on the night of October 25, 2011 when Mayor Kasim Reed rescinded an executive order allowing them to remain in Woodruff Park overnight. More than 50 people were arrested when police swept in to clear the park at Reed’s order.
A group of the protesters and their supporters took the break the action on Monday as an opportunity to march to nearby Atlanta City Hall and “say ‘hi’ to Kasim.”
edCanvas = document.getElementById(‘content’);