Minneapolis, MN – The State of Minnesota dropped charges against Unicorn Riot journalist Niko Georgiades in a case that was set for trial in early June, citing “Prosecutor Discretion”.
[UPDATE – May 22, 2016: Below is ALL of the police reports –22 page PDF- received from the motion of discovery before Niko’s trial (redactions by Unicorn Riot to protect personal information)]pdf20160111_11310735-final
On November 16th, 2015, Niko from Unicorn Riot was picked out by State Troopers and targeted for arrest (video below), while covering the #Justice4Jamar protest that shut down Interstate 94 in Minneapolis in response to the “execution” of Jamar Clark.
In a clear case of targeting media first (see pic below), after arresting Niko, State Troopers then arrested a Fox 9 reporter next, before arresting the protesters that were locked arms blocking the Interstate.
Niko was booked on the charges of Unlawful Assembly at a Demonstration, as were most of the other 33 adults arrested on the Interstate that night.
Upon receiving the police report, two more charges were added to the Unlawful Assembly [609.705], they were Failure to Obey Direction of a Peace Officer [169.02.2] and Pedestrian on the Freeway [169.305.1(c)].
The charges were amended to Presence at Unlawful Assembly [609.715] and Public Nuisance-Interfere-Obstruct Roadway [609.74(2)] by the time of the disposition, the first court appearance.
Most of the other 33 took the CWOP (Continued without Prosecution) offers that were given to them by the State that included no charges on their record if they had no same or similar charges in the next year.
Niko and his defense team, led by the Legal Rights Center, chose to continue to plead ‘Not Guilty’ at the pre-trial hearing and started to prepare for June trial.
On Friday, May 13th, prosecuting attorney Christopher Bates filed the paperwork for dismissal of the charges against Niko.
Here is the livestream of the march on November 16th that led to the shut down of I-94W:
The demonstrators entered the Interstate in this stream:
Here is the last stream that Niko could post before having signal difficulties:
From this video streamed by Unicorn Riot journalist Lorenzo, you can see the police start to move in to make arrests around the 17:15 mark.
The targeting of media at protests is a widely used police tactic. Minneapolis is not the only place that Unicorn Riot journalists have been targeted, in Denver, Unicorn Riot journalist Pat was violently arrested while filming a protest over the killing of Paul Castaway.
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