Seventeen people arrested during a protest in Portland last July admitted in court Thursday that they violated a city ordinance on disorderly conduct. They will have their charges dismissed and each will pay $140 into a victims’ compensation fund.

The group will also meet with police next week as part of a restorative justice program. Jon Gale, an attorney representing one protester, said the meeting will allow the demonstrators and police to discuss the protest, which ended with the arrests on July 15 of some protesters who were blocking a portion of Commercial Street while demonstrating against police shootings of black men elsewhere in the country.

Under the agreement with prosecutors, the charges against the protesters will go away in six months, as long as they don’t violate the law again and pay an additional $60 toward the restorative justice program.

Fifteen of the 17 arrested appeared in court Thursday. They all declined to speak with a reporter after a brief appearance before Judge Paul A. Fritzsche. The other two who had been arrested were out of state for Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors said, but agreed to the same terms as the others.

Violating the disorderly conduct ordinance normally results in a fine of $100, Cumberland County Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ackerman said.

The demonstrators blocked a section of Commercial Street on a busy Friday night in July. Portland police officials complained that the protesters failed to get a permit and discuss their plans with police, unlike another, similar protest the week before.


The leaders of the earlier protest met with police beforehand to discuss their protest and the route their march would follow. By contrast, Portland police said they tried to contact the organizers of the July 15 march before they set off, but they were rebuffed.

A call seeking comment from Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck was not immediately returned Thursday morning.

The protesters formed up in Lincoln Park early in the evening and then marched, chanting, down Pearl Street to Commercial Street, with a police car in front of the group and two cruisers behind. There were a few shouts back and forth between protesters and some bystanders who objected to the “black lives matter” chants, and a handful of drivers were delayed when protesters holding a banner blocked Custom House Wharf. The demonstrators took down the banner when asked to by police, who watched the protest for more than three hours before making arrests when the demonstrators refused to disperse.

Other protesters continued the demonstration and those arrested were released a few hours after they were taken into custody.

It’s not clear if the meeting with police next week will be open to the public. Stacey Neumann, a lawyer who represented one protester, said the session will give both demonstrators and the police a chance to clear the air.

“Hopefully, all the parties can come together and move forward,” Neumann said.

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