Charges against two of five people arrested during a violent protest in Hemming Park in April have been dropped, the State Attorney's Office said.
The State Attorney's Office said it dropped charges against deaf protestor Connell Crooms and protest organizer David Schneider.
Three others arrested at the protest, Christina Kittle, Thomas Beckham and William Wilder, are expected to take a plea deal.
The arrests garnered national attention after video appeared to show Jacksonville officers tackling Crooms and punching him while he flailed on the ground.
Crooms was taken to the hospital after his arrest.
Officers also appeared to put an elderly man in a headlock and restrained a young woman on the ground after she struck at an officer’s face with her hand.
The State Attorney's Office released many clips of footage that show the arrests on the day of the protest.
The State Attorney's Office said it will not seek charges against Gary Snow, the man who many accuse of provoking the protesters.
Snow is an outspoken Pres. Donald Trump and law enforcement supporter. He told Action News Jax he has "no regrets" about getting in protesters' faces with a megaphone and flicking off Crooms.
"Our office has also thoroughly reviewed Mr. Snow’s conduct. We have declined to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Snow because we have concluded that his speech and actions were protected by the First Amendment," the State Attorney's Office said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure public safety while respecting the liberties that allow us to demonstrate our beliefs in public spaces.”
“This is a victory for freedom of speech in Jacksonville,” said protester Richard Blake.
While it’s a victory today, Blake said there’s still more to do, and they will continue to demand more accountability on police
“I think it sends a good message to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that if you are going to try and politically repress organizers, we are going to organize back,” Blake said.
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