Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers asked the Athens City Prosecutor’s office to dismiss the remaining charges related to the Baker Center sit-in on Feb. 1.
“Although I still believe the February 1 gathering had become unsafe and that our response was appropriate, I respect the decision of the judge,” Powers said in a press release.
Athens Municipal Court Judge Todd Grace found Michael Mayberry, an organizer of the protest, not guilty of criminal trespassing on March 27.
Powers continued by saying the Ohio University Police Department (OUPD) remains committed to the rule of law and protection of Constitutional rights.
“To that end, I look forward to working with senior leadership of the University to review our institutional policies and procedures to ensure the protect everyone’s First Amendment rights, while also providing law enforcement with the tools we need to effectively manage public events and keep our community safe,” Powers said.
Mayberry was one of 70 other individuals arrested by Athens law enforcement in Baker Student Center. While 15 others pled “no contest” to a minor misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, Mayberry, who was represented by City Council Member Patrick McGee, I-At Large, was the first to go to trial and found not guilty.
At the Feb. 1 protest, OU students and Athens residents expressed grievances against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. When the protesters refused to leave the Baker Center rotunda, Athens law enforcement arrested 70 individuals whom Powers observed as being “unsafe and disruptive.”
There has been no action by the Athens City Prosecutor’s Office to dismiss the remaining charges related to the protest at the time of publication.