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'It's a relief': Charges dismissed for protesters who marched in downtown Phoenix last October

The group was marching downtown to protest police brutality and the death of Dion Johnson. Now, their charges have been dismissed permanently.

PHOENIX — Charges against more than a dozen downtown Phoenix protesters from last fall have been dropped.

Prosecutors with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed to dismiss them with prejudice on Friday, meaning that they can not be filed again. 

On Oct. 17, Riley Behrens was among 17 people who he says were marching downtown, protesting against police brutality and the death of Dion Johnson.

“It’s been a mix of emotions,” Behrens said. “When we were first charged, at least for me, I was shocked at the charges and pretty frustrated and I wanted to believe they wouldn’t stick but I didn’t know.”

Behrens is relieved now that all charges against him and the other protesters have been dropped.

“The best news we could have gotten out of this day,” Behrens said.

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel released a statement following the motion being filed to dismiss the charges.

In it, she stated dropping the charges were in the interests of justice and the community. The statement read, in part: 

“…I want to be clear this decision does not mean that no crimes were committed. This decision in no way reflects negatively on the hard work law enforcement performed that night in preventing violence and property damage, and other crimes to keep our community safe...”

Kathy Brody, who’s listed as an attorney for one of the protesters and filed the motion to dismiss the charges in the case, said this was a long time coming.

“The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office did the right thing today,” Brody said at a press conference Friday. “These charges and the charges against the other protesters should have been dismissed a long time ago.”

A federal class-action lawsuit has also been filed on behalf of more than 120 protesters against the City of Phoenix.

RELATED: Class action lawsuit filed against Phoenix for falsely arresting hundreds of protesters

Behrens now wanting to see other cases involving protesters dropped too.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest to just let these cases go, drop the charges and just be done,” Behrens said.

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