A judge in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court refused to dismiss a charge against a Black Lives Matter activist after his legal team asked for the case to be dropped, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
Amman Asfaw and his legal team filed a motion to dismiss the charge on Jan. 13, and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office filed an opposition to the invitation on Friday just prior to the court hearing.
Eight people, including activist Tianna Arata all, face charges as a result of the protest but Asfaw is the only one of the group facing a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment. He was charged with “unlawfully detain(ing) motorists” during a July demonstration where he was accused of blocking Highway 101.
Asfaw claims that the District Attorney’s Office is engaging in “invidious discrimination” and “singling him out as a Black man while infringing on his First Amendment Rights to free speech and freedom to assemble.”
The District Attorney’s Office has denied Asfaw’s allegations and said they charged the protesters they could identify, which were eight people out of a crowd of around 300 people. Also, they claimed that they didn't discriminate based on race because they charged a driver with reckless driving for hitting two BLM demonstrators who were using a crosswalk with their car in September 2020.
Judge Roger Piquet, who presided over the hearing, says the denial of the dismissal invitation was handed down without prejudice and Asfaw’s case is will move forward to trial.
According to the court docket, a new judge is set to be assigned to the case.
A trial setting conference is scheduled for May 6.