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'Jax 19' protestors want charges dropped

Silent protest asks for charges to be dropped on those arrested during protest

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Protesters gathered outside the Jacksonville Courthouse on Tuesday demanding the charges against those arrested for blocking traffic on the Hart Bridge in December be dropped.

The group was arrested after standing with signs on the bridge during afternoon rush hour, demonstrating against what it called "brutality against blacks," stemming from the shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Eric Garner.

Eighteen of the Jax 19 were arrested and charged with obstructing traffic while the 19th protester, Siddie Friar, was charged with battery on a police officer for allegedly punching an officer in the face during the protests.

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Seven of the 19 original protesters were outside the courthouse holding a silent protest demanding State Attorney Angela Corey drop the charges.

"I don't feel like the 15 minutes we held up traffic (is cause) to be arrested." said Deanna Bullard, one of the Jax 19. "We're not going to stop having our voices heard, whether it's shutting down a bridge, passing out fliers or organizing more protests."

The state attorney's office released the following statement about the group's request:

"The State Attorney's Office has a duty to protect this community and prosecute those who choose to break the law. A protest does not change that obligation. The SAO will not ignore the law to satisfy the whims of those who now seek to avoid the consequences of their own conduct, whether they be intentionally obstructing traffic or committing other crimes against the members of our community."