Boston judge declines to dismiss assault charges for those arrested during ‘Straight Pride Parade’

BOSTON (WHDH) – A Boston Municipal Court judge on Tuesday declined to drop assault charges against dozens of people arrested at the “Straight Pride Parade” over the weekend, including one counterprotester who claims he did nothing wrong.

Boston police took 36 people into custody during the controversial event on Saturday.

Rod Webber, one of the counterprotesters of the parade, recorded himself getting arrested.

“I’d done nothing wrong so I calmly started to walk away and you can see my video because I turned my selfie stick around and you see that I was targeted,” he said. “I was put in a chokehold and put down and told I was under arrest and they really messed up my leg.”

Webber faces charges of disorderly person and resisting arrest.

The Boston Patrolman’s Association says four officers were injured during the demonstration and have not yet returned to work.

“Many officers were assaulted throughout the day with bottles of urine being thrown at them, bottles of chemicals,” said Larry Calderone, vice president of the patrolman’s association.

Despite a push from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office to get the cases dismissed, judge Richard Sinnott ruled against a request that charges be dropped once the defendants completed eight hours of community service.

In a statement, Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins said, “By compelling arraignment in every case, the judge punished the exercise of individuals’ First Amendment right to protest.  At my request, prosecutors used the discretion constitutionally allocated to the executive branch to triage cases and use our resources most effectively to protect public safety.”

The statement continued, “Make no mistake: some people were appropriately arraigned and will be held accountable for actions that put the safety of the public and law enforcement at risk.  For those people now tangled in the criminal justice system for exercising their right to free speech — many of whom had no prior criminal record — I will use the legal process to remedy the judge’s overstepping of his role.”

Representative Ayanna Pressley later took to Twitter in an effort to raise enough money to bail out the counterprotesters.

“People have the right to show up in the world exactly as they are,” she told reporters. “Those are the values of Boston. Those peaceful protesters were simply there defending those values. I do not think they should have been arrested.”

Pressley clarified her tweet at an event in Roxbury Tuesday night.

“I do not condone violence in any form,” the representative said. “I do believe what we need is an independent investigation. I also believe this makes, very effectively, the case, one more time, for body cameras because a lot of the reason why we don’t have a full picture of what transpired.”

Calderone says he is pleased that Sinnott sided with the police in his decision to move the cases forwarded.

“We hope that in the future that will continue to be the practice with all judges,” he said.

Super Happy Fun America said they organized the parade to “celebrate the diverse history, culture, and contributions of the straight community.”

Counterprotesters argued that the event was offensive.

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