The City pursued this charge against Rodney despite not having probable cause to do so. Upon information and belief, the City had a video at its disposal at the time it filed the charge against Rodney which showed that Rodney did not make any remarks calculated to provoke a breach of the peace. And the arresting officer, Defendant Boettigheimer, was not able to testify that Rodney Brown made any such remarks.St. Louis Municipal Court Judge Newton McCoy acquitted Brown after a bench trial in September 2017, just days after the acquittal of a man in far different circumstances touched off months of protest in the city — and a host of lawsuits making similar First Amendment allegations as Brown.
The lack of probable cause did not matter because, upon information and belief, the City maintains a “no drop” prosecution policy against activists and protesters. That policy applies regardless of whether probable cause exists at the time of their arrest, the weight of the evidence against a defendant, or the constitutionally-protected nature of any alleged conduct on the day in question.
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