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Protesters blocked I-35 in weeks of summer protests.

A majority of the charges related to the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer will be dropped.


County Attorney David Escamilla, set to retire at the end of this year, told the Austin Chronicle that none of the dropped cases were violent.

"Unless there's any aggravating factors, we just reject, and so that's what we've done," he said.

The decision affects 104 protestors out of the 178 arrested during the demonstrations this summer, most of who were arrested for low-level offenses like obstructing a highway, Escamilla said. That charge is normally a class B misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Escamilla does not have authority over all arrests. Some 51 protestors arrested over the summer were charged with both felony and misdemeanor offenses, putting them in the hands of District Attorney-elect Jose Garza, who will decide what happens to them when he takes office in January.

Four protestors charged with misdemeanors had already pleaded guilty and took time served to get out of jail.

Escamilla is still deciding on 19 cases, the Chronicle reported, some of which involve property damage. "Anything could happen with those," he said. "They're just more complicated."

Charges will also be dropped in arrests stemming from the International Working Women's Day protest on March 8, as well as the May Day March on May 1.

Escamilla has held the office of county attorney for the past 17 years. He will be succeeded by former council member Delia Garza.

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