The charges against all eight protesters who were arrested during or after this year’s Entrada re-enactment on the Santa Fe Plaza now have been dropped.
The Santa Fe Municipal Court administrator confirmed Thursday that the criminal trespass charges against the final two defendants, Sierra Logan and Jennifer Haley, were dismissed by Judge Pro Tem Ann Yalman earlier this week.
City spokesman Matt Ross did not return phone and email messages Thursday seeking comment on whether city government intends to continue defending the Entranda arrests.
The protest against the Sept. 8 Entrada pageant – the annual re-enactment during the Santa Fe Fiesta of the Spanish resettlement of Santa Fe in 1692, 12 years after the Pueblo Revolt – was led by Native American groups.
The police maintained they were required to enforce rules for the Entrada established by the Fiesta Council, which had a permit to use the Plaza for the annual event.
Entrada organizers tried to avoid the protests by moving the event’s start up two hours unannounced, but several protesters still showed up and a total of 150 gathered afterward. Protesters and police faced off after officers established what was called a “free speech zone” away from Fiesta celebrants.
The criminal trespass charges against the arrested protesters have been dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning they could be refiled.
John Day, one of the attorneys who has represented the protesters, said he hopes the city leaves the dismissals alone and doesn’t continue pursuing prosecution.
“The municipal judge got it right when she dismissed these cases, based on how vague and unclear the charges were,” said Day. “The position of all the defendants has consistently been that they were arrested for the content of their protest speech. In other words, they were being arrested because they were in opposition to the Entrada and the Fiesta Council.
“For some bizarre reason, the city decided to act as private security guards for the Fiesta Council instead of respecting the First Amendment.”
He said he hopes the city “has gotten the message loud and clear that they can’t violate the First Amendment rights of protesters regardless of the position they are taking.”
Felony battery on a peace officer charges against on of the eight protesters, Jennifer Marley, were dropped in Santa Fe Magistrate Court last month because prosecutors didn’t get police lapel video and officer statements in time for a court hearing, District Attorney Marco Serna said at the time.
Marley was accused of hitting officers with a protest sign, but police body camera video didn’t show her striking anyone.