April 26, 2024

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver asks that misdemeanor charges be dismissed

Long-time Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, is asking university President Gregory L. Fenves to act quickly in requesting that misdemeanor charges against protesters who did not engage in “undisputed physical attacks” be dismissed.

By Staff Report | Photo by Ben Hendren, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Here is her full letter:

President Fenves,
I am a lifetime neighbor of Emory University. I swam on the Emory children's swim team many decades ago. I'm a former student, graduate and professor of an institution I have always loved and admired.  I have been and will continue to be a supporter and donor to the University.  Your letters to the community have been helpful.
The APD’s overly-aggressive policies that have specifically focused on the protesters of the police training center over the past months and years, along with a partnership against protesters the Georgia State Patrol, is at the center of the terrible and unnecessary actions against Emory students, faculty and staff yesterday.  An unknown number of students and faculty have been  held in the overcrowded DeKalb jail overnight, awaiting arraignments this morning.   These individuals will have  permanent arrest records, and as a former Magistrate Judge for Dekalb County, the county’s investment of time, money, and resources to arrest, detain, and process Emory community individuals for peaceful protests is bad management and a bad decision. I ask that Emory leadership meet with the DeKalb Solicitor and law enforcement leaders to move efficiently to dismiss any legal misdemeanor charges that do not relate to undisputed physical attacks or threats by protesters.   I can suggest experienced criminal legal counsel who can assist you in evaluating these charges, and I urge your immediate attention to ending the criminalization of protesters who  attempted peaceful first amendment protected protests.
There are already too many people in the Dekalb jail who are there because they irritated  or frightened someone, and not because they presented any danger to  public safety.  I remember well my days as a law student on the Emory campus during the Kent State protests and am sure I was irritating someone at that stressful time.
Thank you for consideration of my requests.
Mary Margaret Oliver