BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Ten people have been arraigned in court after having been arrested at Boston rallies protesting a grand jury’s decision to not charge a white police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man in New York City.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office says charges against eight of the 10 people arrested Thursday night were changed to civil infractions and all were released. Prosecutors say seven of them were fined $200 apiece Friday in District Court.
Two people who were arrested on the Mass. Pike wished to be put back on trial and will return to court in February.
They were among thousands of people who took part in mostly peaceful protests at Boston Common and other locations.
Police say three women were arrested trying to breach a gate at the State House, six people were charged with trespassing on highway ramps and a woman was arrested for blocking stairs at a subway station.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans praised the work of his officers and thanked the public for its patience after hundreds of protesters marched on city streets for several hours Thursday night.
“The restraint and professionalism exhibited by all my officers and our law enforcement partners during tonight’s peaceful demonstrations were exceptional,” Evans early Friday morning.
Before marching around the city, large crowds gathered on Boston Common during the city’s annual Christmas Tree lighting. Before the protests, Mayor Marty Walsh asked demonstrators to be respectful to families who were attending the lighting.
“I think the fact that when you frighten little children, you’re not proving your point,” Walsh told WBZ’s Chris McKinnon. “I mean they came to see Santa Claus last night and they had people screaming in their ear. And you don’t do that, you don’t intimidate little kids.”
At multiple points in the protest, demonstrators staged “die-ins” where they laid in the street to signify Eric Garner’s final moments when he told officers who were attempting to arrest him that he could not breathe.
Police shut down some roads during the demonstrations, including entrances to highways to stop the protesters from getting onto the major roads.
“I am truly proud to lead such a great Department. I also want to acknowledge and thank the public for their patience and understanding with the necessary road closures and driving restrictions,” said Evans.
“These are done in the interest of keeping everyone safe and tonight we did just that. I truly appreciate your cooperation.”
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