Occupy Protesters to Stand Before Jury

Due to a continuance filed on behalf of the prosecution, jury selection for Dr. Melody Castro and Rev. David Burden, the two who were arrested at City Hall in December, will begin Monday, May 7, 2012. The trial may be set for later in the week. 

The two were standing on a walkway that runs through the City Hall green space when Pensacola City Police arrested them for trespassing. The two pled not guilty to misdemeanor trespassing at the arraignment.  A video recording of the incident is available online. Another video, taken by Burden but thought to be damaged when his phone was dropped during his arrest, was retrieved from his phone’s memory and will be submitted as evidence.

The plain clothed city police officer that arrested Castro and Burden would not identify himself as a police officer when he approached them. When attempting to leave the space, they were threatened with resisting arrest.

An accurate definition of what constitutes a sidewalk on or around the city hall property is yet to be clarified by the City or the Federal Court. A letter written to Mayor Ashton Hayward by the ACLU asking for clarification on this issue has not received a response.

For additional information or sample copy, contact, Nicholas Alford 221-5668.