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As Minneapolis drops riot charges, Occupy looks to go on the legal offensive

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On Monday, the last of the Occupy activists facing riot charges over the Cruz home protests arrived at a courtroom for trial, joined by about 50 supporters. If convicted, the four defendants -- Catherine Salonek, Jessica Davis, Tomahawk Riley and Dee Xaba -- would face up to two years in prison and a $7,000 fine.

As Minneapolis drops riot charges, Occupy looks to go on the legal offensive

By Olivia LaVecchia
City Pages
Dec. 19 2012

On Monday, the last of the Occupy activists facing riot charges over the Cruz home protests arrived at a courtroom for trial, joined by about 50 supporters. If convicted, the four defendants -- Catherine Salonek, Jessica Davis, Tomahawk Riley and Dee Xaba -- would face up to two years in prison and a $7,000 fine.

They were among 14 charged and 39 arrested (including Brother Ali) in May and June as they demonstrated against the Cruz family's eviction from their south Minneapolis home.

In the six months since, Occupy has repeatedly denounced the riot charges, which are classified as a violent crime, staging protests at City Hall and organizing call-in days. Protesters with earlier cases had accepted plea deals that reduced their charges to petty misdemeanors and a minor fine.

Monday, just before the trial was to start, lawyers offered a plea deal that dropped the riot charges. Instead, the four defendants pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor that will not go on their record if they complete community service and a year of probation.

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