The city of Vancouver has dropped criminal charges for most people arrested at protests over the law enforcement killing of a Black man.
Hundreds marched through the city from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 to protest Kevin Peterson Jr.’s death. Two Clark County Sheriff’s Office detectives and a deputy shot and killed the 21-year-old man from Camas during an attempted drug sting in Hazel Dell.
The unrest included some clashes around Vancouver between racial justice protesters and right-wing groups. Attendees to a vigil for Peterson reported being maced by counter-protesters and at least one counter-protester was filmed firing a gun into the air.
Eight people arrested faced charges of failure to disperse when Vancouver police tried to break-up the crowds.
Vancouver City Attorney Jonathan Young said the city decided to drop five individuals’ charges because investigations found those five hadn’t endangered others nor damaged property, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Young said footage of the nights and statements by American Civil Liberties Union observers filled in “some of the pieces of information.”
Young noted some charges were harder to prove because of confusion at the time. The night someone fired gunshots in the air, he said, people weren’t sure which direction was safe to travel as police ordered the crowd to leave.
Three cases are still moving forward.