Arrested Jan. 6 protesters, take note: If you were “not the most culpable” person there that day, but were just “the loudest” and joining in with something that was already happening before you “arrived upon the scene,” you should have any charges dismissed and walk away free.
At least that’s what just happened to black “social justice advocate” Jamaica Miles after Miles’ lawyer argued she was wrongly accused and targeted by police in Saratoga, N.Y. because of her race.
On Jan. 24 Judge Francine Vero dismissed charges of unlawful imprisonment and disorderly conduct against Miles – charges police said were based on Miles blocking cars during a July 14 protest – because, the judge wrote, “Ms. Miles was not the most culpable.” The report came from Albany, N.Y.’s Times Union.
“She was simply the loudest,” wrote Vero. “What differentiates Ms. Miles from the other protesters is the volume and intensity of her voice. Ms. Miles blocks the vehicle’s path for about three minutes while other protesters stand in front of the car for the duration. … Furthermore, the video plainly shows the crowd was already blocking the vehicle’s path before Ms. Miles arrived upon the scene. Contrary to the assertion of the People at the Hearing, no evidence was introduced establishing that Ms. Miles was a ‘leader’ of the group in this case.”
Miles’ attorney had offered photographic and video evidence showing that Miles did not initiate blocking traffic during a July 14 protest.
Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney Joe Frandino had wanted Miles, who has no criminal record, to plead guilty to disorderly conduct on the basis that she led the protest.
Police said of the incident that they listened to a 911 call from a man who was trapped in his car during the protest. He called to ask the police to clear a path so he could get home to his heart medication. That led to an investigation and warrants being issued on Aug. 31, 2021 for those who allegedly blocked the car, among them the leader of Saratoga Black Lives Matter, who is also facing charges of disrupting a City Council meeting.