A spokesman for the mayor said Bottoms “does believe that each situation should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.” It isn’t clear if such an evaluation is planned by the mayor’s office.
The DA said he would compile a list of protesters charged with felonies and review each, adding: “Our office does not believe citizens should be charged for the expression of First Amendment rights.”
The solicitor didn’t respond to a request for comment.
“Citizens protested aggressive policing and were too often met with aggressive policing,” said an open letter distributed by the Southern Center for Human Rights and signed by 48 lawyers, professors, clergy members and activists. “As mayors and prosecutors around the country have realized, these arrests fail to respect the free speech rights of citizens motivated, and sometimes awakened, to protest white supremacy in policing and in society. Those mayors and prosecutors dropped the charges, and we ask that you do the same now.”
The letter’s authors were referring to actions by officials in Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; Fort Worth, Texas, and elsewhere.
The authors said the mayor’s executive orders related to the protests and curfew were overly broad and targeted political speech. In announcing the curfew, the mayor said she respects everyone’s rights but couldn’t allow destructive behavior such as what took place on May 29, when the CNN Center and other properties downtown were damaged.
The letter asks Atlanta and Fulton officials to “at the very least” drop the charges faced by protesters that don’t involve allegations of violence or property destruction.
The letter’s 48 signatories include representatives from the Southern Center, Women on the Rise, the Working Families Party, the ACLU of Georgia, Park Avenue Baptist Church, the massive Evershed Sutherland law firm, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and others.