Maricopa County Attorney plans to drop charges against downtown Phoenix protesters

Prosecutors have moved to dismiss charges against more than a dozen people who protested police brutality in Phoenix. 

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel's office filed a motion Friday to drop all charges from the Oct. 17 protests with prejudice, meaning they can't be refiled. 

Protesters had been accused of crimes that included assisting or participating in a criminal street gang last October. 

Adel says her office made the decision to dismiss the charges because of the time and resources needed to pursue the misdemeanor charges. 

"I want to be clear this decision does not mean that no crimes were committed," her office wrote in a statement. "This decision in no way reflects negatively on the hard work law enforcement performed that night in preventing violence and property damage, and other crimes to keep our community safe.

"The events of that night were captured on video," the statement continued. "It clearly shows there was probable cause to arrest and file charges against certain individuals who committed misdemeanor crimes. However, as we highlighted in recent pleadings to the court, the more serious charges as originally filed did not meet our standards."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and others have called the charges an abusive political prosecution intended to silence dissent and scare protesters.

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