Charges against Occupy protesters dropped

Bureau of Protective Services officers arrest Occupy Columbia protesters at the State House, November 16th.

COLUMBIA (WACH) - A lawyer representing the Occupy Columbia movement said Thursday that charges against 19 of its protesters have been dropped.

The protesters were arrested November 16th on charges of unauthorized use of State House grounds, after defying an order by Governor Nikki Haley to vacate the area.

"I have determined that although officers were acting under the direction of the Governor, there is not enough evidence to prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt," said 5th Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson.

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Occupy Columbia had been camped out at the State House for more than a month, rallying against Wall Street greed and political corruption.

"I always knew that I would be found not guilty of the charges, but I thought it would need to go to a jury trial before I got that vindication," said protester Tim Liszewski.

Haley Spokesman Rob Godfrey said the Governor disagrees with the Solicitor's decision.

"We have a group here that has lived on the grounds, destroyed public property, used the Statehouse flower beds as a toilet, and now we're being told that there is one set of rules for Occupy Columbia and another set for everyone else. It's unacceptable."