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The Indiana Daily Student

campus administration

BREAKING: Prosecutor’s Office won’t file charges against 55 protesters arrested at Dunn Meadow protests

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The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office will not file criminal charges against 55 protesters arrested in Dunn Meadow on April 25 and 27 for criminal trespass, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr said in a statement Friday. 57 total protesters were arrested. 

The decision was based on, among other reasons, the “constitutionally dubious process by which the University passed and enforced its new policy regarding structures in Dunn Meadow,” Kehr said in the statement. 

IU changed a 1969 policy to prohibit unauthorized structures, like tents, in Dunn Meadow on April 24, one day before the start of a pro-Palestinian encampment.  

“Throughout the events of the past several months, including public safety actions in Dunn Meadow, IU has prioritized the safety and security of the campus community," an IU spokesperson said in a statement. "IU will continue to enforce policies that prioritize the safety of our community alongside the protection of free speech.”

Out of the 57 protesters arrested, 56 were arrested for criminal trespass after violating the new policy and received at least a one-year campus ban. Two of the 56 were also arrested for resisting law enforcement, including one protester additionally charged with battery against a public safety official by the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office.  

Another protester, not charged with criminal trespass, was arrested only for criminal recklessness. 

Kehr did not immediately respond to request for clarification on if prosecutors will pursue charges against the protester arrested for criminal recklessness. 

The prosecutor’s office also reviewed reports, affidavits, videos and photos from both IU Police and Indiana State Police, the agencies which made the arrests. Kehr wrote the state is unlikely to be able to convict those charged with trespass based on the evidence. 

“To attempt to do so would be a poor use of limited resources and wholly inconsistent with the sound exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” Kehr wrote. 

Earlier this month, on May 14, prosecutors dismissed a disorderly conduct charge against Tom Sweeney, who was arrested during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Dunn Meadow on April 8.  

UPDATE: This story was updated with a statement from an IU spokesperson.

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