Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner will not be ordered to testify in this week's trial of dozens of Occupy Atlanta protesters.
Lawyers for the defendants and the Atlanta Law Department argued over defense efforts to subpoena the city officials into the early evening Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, Atlanta Municipal Court Chief Judge Crystal Gaines granted the city's motion to quash the subpoenas, said Deputy City Attorney Eric Richardson, who argued for the city.
A half-dozen defense attorneys faced off with a city solicitor as the trial got under way for more than two dozen protesters arrested when police shut down the Occupy encampment in Woodruff Park last year. The challenge of a case with so many defendants was quickly evident. Assistant Solicitor Drew Taylor had just begun questioning the first witness, former Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Calvin Moss, about the arrests of 52 protesters when objections began flying from the bank of defense attorneys arrayed across the aisle.
"It's really disorienting when I have four of five of you doing the objections," said Gaines, asking that only the lawyer who would be examining each witness enter objections.
"We all represent five or six defendants," responded defense lawyer Mawuli Davis.
"So all of you are going to be cross-examining each witness?" asked Gaines. "I appreciate you clarifying that for me."
Moss is among more than a dozen police officers who may testify in the trial, which involves the October 2011 arrests and a smaller number stemming from actions the next month. On Monday, the number of defendants was trimmed when 28 entered pleas of guilty or no contest to misdemeanor charges; Gaines entered suspended sentences of $1,000 and court costs for most of them. Some younger defendants were allowed to enter a court-operated community service program.