An Albany judge decided to dismiss all charges against Lexis Figuereo, who emerged as one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement in the city. The ruling comes after the Albany County District Attorney’s Office confessed that it failed to adhere to evidence discovery rules.
The charges were a result of two protests in front of Albany police’s South Station in April of last year. Figuereo’s lawyer, Mark Mishler, asked for the charges to be dismissed after discovering that the police department’s Office of Professional Standards had made audio recordings of interviews with officers as part of its review of the officers’ behavior during the protests.
Apparently, several officers hid their badges and name tags in violation of department policy during the protest on April 22. According to documents, the district attorney’s office recognized they were unaware of those recordings and agreed to the charges being dropped.
In the official letter that showed the charges were dismissed, the district attorney’s office said it only realized the department had the recordings after Mishler brought it to their attention on August 1.
“In light of this fact, we have determined to discontinue prosecution of this matter in exercise of our prosecutorial discretion,” wrote Assistant District Attorney Marissa C. Olsen in a letter dated August 16.
Figuereo was one of 14 people who were arrested on April 22 after city police moved to clear an encampment protesters had set up outside their station. The other defendants had their cases resolved without jail time being served. Figuereo regarded his prosecution as something that was “politically motivated.”
“This is why we fight for social justice so that others aren’t put in this predicament without support to fight wrongful arrests and prosecution,” he explained in a statement.