Attorney for J20 protesters wants San Francisco DA to drop charges

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Approximately 11 J20 protesters are facing misdemeanor charges in San Francisco after they linked themselves together across Caltrain tracks.

The protesters gathered at 16th and 7th streets on January 20, President Trump's inauguration day.

After they ignored orders to disperse, law enforcement officials lifted them from the ground. Several are now facing misdemeanor charges for trespassing and refusing to leave. These are charges their attorney wants dropped.

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"The district attorney, at any time, has the discretion to dismiss the case in the interest of justice, which we implore him to do because in this moment San Francisco is a city of resistance. San Francisco is a sanctuary city and they are resisting Trump's agenda," said their attorney, EmilyRose Johns.

The District Attorney's Office spokesperson, Alex Bastian, says the office is open to reviewing the motion but adds that this particular type of protest crossed a public safety line.

"It's a balancing act. We find the First Amendment to be very sacred and we protect it at all costs. However, when something occurs where either assaultive behavior or vandalism or critical infrastructure is impacted, we have an obligation to do things in a different way," said Bastian.

The attorney for the resistors says they did not pose a public safety danger. She says the charges send a strong message.

"I think it sends that San Francisco isn't really dedicated to resisting the Donald Trump administration in the way that they've presented themselves by becoming a sanctuary city," said Johns.

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She says the charges carry fines and, in some cases, six-month sentences which, if served non-concurrently, could equal up to a year of jail time.

A judge will hear the motion to dismiss the complaint in June.

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