New options available for protesters charged with curfew violations

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 12:26 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Protestors that have prior records and were charged with curfew violations now have a choice between taking a pretrial diversion program or pleading to the charge with the agreement of a $50 fine.

According to City Prosecutor Matt Kuhse, this will not apply to those who were also charged with damaging property, possessing weapons, or crimes of violence in addition to the curfew offense.

In June, a plan was announced to dismiss curfew charges for protesters with no criminal record. Now, those who were only charged with curfew violations but have prior criminal offenses have an option.

Members from the ACLU of Nebraska and Justice for James Omaha say the move is a step in the right direction.

“While it’s not a complete solution, this announcement acknowledges the disparities the community raised and reinforced that diversion never made sense for people engaged in peaceful free expression but it was welcome news to learn that the diversion program was being grounded in restorative justice,” Fox said. “We believe that a fine isn’t justified either, but we do recognize it offers a better path forward for many protesters. We look forward to continuing these conversations with city leaders on these topics and the urgent need for broader reform.”

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