Protestors’ Trials Postponed Following Judge’s Refusal to Drop Charges

By Dewayne Bingham, Assistant Photo Editor

Several Chattanooga protesters, including City Council candidate Marie Mott and local musician and activist Cameron “C-Grimey” Williams, attended a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 7 for charges related to the theft and burning of a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office flag on July 9 and blocking an emergency vehicle during a protest on July 10.

Trials for the protesters were moved to Oct. 8 after General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes refused the request of Mott’s attorney, McCracken Poston to dismiss the charges.

However, Judge Starnes has since recused himself from the cases, after a personal Facebook post with images of his 9-year-old grandson carrying a replica shotgun and leading a small march through their neighborhood in support of police, which Starnes called “very patriotic,” raised questions surrounding his impartiality.

 In a recent press release, Starnes came to his own public defense.

“In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety, to avoid any negative effect on the judiciary, and in the interest of my grandson’s privacy and safety, I have decided to recuse myself from all of these cases effective immediately,” he said.

Protesters marched from Miller Park to the Hamilton County Jail and Courts Building the day after their hearing, conscious to remain on city sidewalks to avoid altercations with police.

Mott, Williams, and other Chattanooga activists made it clear at Wednesday’s protest that their charges will not deter them from assembling and protesting peacefully.

3 thoughts on “Protestors’ Trials Postponed Following Judge’s Refusal to Drop Charges

  1. Stay strong and prosecute these violators! We will not tolerate abuse of the 1st Amendment, violence, obstruction, destruction nor disrespect to our law enforcement!

    1. ^ if only our community practiced the same intolerance toward racism and abuse of power!

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