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Protesters Seeking To Drop Charges Against 'Black Friday 14' Arrested

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Fourteen demonstrators were arrested Wednesday for refusing to leave the Alameda County Courthouse. They were calling on the DA to drop charges against the "Black Friday 14" protesters who crippled BART service on the last Black Friday.

The 14 Black Lives Matter activists were charged with trespassing for shutting down BART for two hours, as part of a nationwide protest over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.

"We hope to deliver a message of solidarity," said Terry De Grace-Morris of the Plymouth United Church of Christ.

Similar protests earlier this year led the BART Board to drop its call for $70,000 in damages. For supporters, that is not enough.
"Probably unlikely they would get jail time, but they would have a misdemeanor on their record and they will have to pay fines," said attorney Walter Riley.

DeGrace-Morris said, "It's another nail in the coffin of injustice for African-Americans."

The District Attorney declined to comment other than to say the case was proceeding.

"We don't have a trial date and it will take a while to get to trial," Riley said.

Black Friday protesters who attended Wednesday's demonstration said they had no regrets.

"We successfully stopped all trains going into San Francisco," said Karissa Lewis. "Anytime you claim power it's powerful. It was also super healing for us to stand in our power."

The protesters had no apologies for anyone affected by their protest.

"Folks were inconvenienced. We are also inconvenienced when we are racially profiled when we are murdered for being black," Lewis said.

"We stood up on the largest shopping day in America in order to draw a lot of attention," said Mollie Costello, also a protester.

When asked if another protest was planned for this coming Black Friday, Costello and Lewis had no comment.

"I don't know," Lewis said. "One never tells their secrets."

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