My husband and I sat in the courtroom as observers with Showing Up for Racial Justice at the Black Lives Matter protesters’ hearing May 19. Although I believe that Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ackerman had good intentions related to her use of restorative justice, applying the clause “as directed” so broadly was in error.

The protesters should be finished with the consequences of last summer’s act of civil disobedience. Each pleaded guilty to civil charges of disorderly conduct and paid $200 fines. They were there Feb. 1 for the restorative justice meeting, but rightly took issue with whether the group would be split up into one group or two and whether it was appropriate for Ackerman to be part of the conversation.

I understood from the deputy district attorney’s testimony that her motivation behind using restorative justice was to acquire an understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement in Maine. I encourage the deputy district attorney to move forward and hold community conversations to broaden our knowledge and understanding of racial justice issues.

Sue Hawes