Charges won't be dropped for 'Straight Pride Parade' counterprotesters

The counterprotesters, who outnumbered the parade crowd, accused the event's organizers of creating an atmosphere of violence toward the LGBTQ community.
Image: Boston Police officers arrest a counterprotester during the "Straight Pride" parade
Boston Police officers arrest a counterprotester during the "Straight Pride" parade in Boston on Aug. 31, 2019.Joseph Prezioso / AFP - Getty Images
By Brooke Sopelsa

A judge Tuesday denied almost every request to dismiss charges or ease bail for three dozen counterprotesters who were arrested at the Boston Straight Pride event on Saturday, despite prosecutors' requests, according to NBC’s Boston affiliate.

The counterprotesters, who outnumbered the parade crowd, accused the organizers of the event — billed as an opportunity to "embrace the vibrancy" of heterosexuality — of creating an atmosphere of violence toward the LGBTQ community.

Charges against those arrested included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, though some were charged with assault and battery on a police officer.

Demonstrators prepare to march in the Straight Pride Parade in Boston, Massachusetts, on Aug. 31, 2019.Brian Snyder / Reuters

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The judge’s decision Tuesday was applauded by Boston’s police union.

“We think these offenders that are here, most of them outside the city of Boston, not residents here, came here as agitators, here for a specific reason, here to create havoc,” Larry Calderone, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, told NBC Boston.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, whose office sought to drop charges against seven of the protesters, said her office would “use the legal process to remedy the judge's overstepping.”

"By compelling arraignment in every case, the judge punished the exercise of individuals' First Amendment right to protest," Rollins said in a statement.

Rep. Ayana Pressley, D-Mass., said the judge’s decision appeared to be “an overreach,” and called for an independent investigation into the use of police force against the counterdemonstrators.

“I support peaceful protest; I don’t condone violence in any form,” she told NBC 10. “We need an independent investigation, and we need body cameras.”

The Boston Police Department said it would review officers' use of force during the demonstrations, where a video posted on social media appeared to show two officers using pepper spray.

Pressley and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted a fundraising link out over the weekend to help raise bail for the arrested counterprotesters.

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