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Navickas faces charges for protest behavior

 Posted: 11:50 AM July 11, 2011

The Jackson County District Attorney's Office has filed charges of interfering with police and disorderly conduct against former Ashland City Councilman Eric Navickas.

The charges filed today stem from an incident during a protest June 28 caught on video and posted on YouTube. The video shows Navickas resisting an Ashland police officer's attempt to arrest him as the leader of the protest, organized on the Plaza to oppose the expansion of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area. The protest had spilled into the street, blocking traffic.

The charges are two counts of interfering with police and one charge of second-degree disorderly conduct, according to the district attorney's office.

Ashland police Officer John Perrone had initially placed Navickas under arrest for disorderly conduct as the leader of the anti-expansion rally after protesters walked down the street without the proper permit, Police Chief Terry Holderness has said. The protesters ignored several police warnings to return to the sidewalk and Navickas was encouraging protesters to remain in the street, Holderness said.

Perrone used his own discretion and decided not to pursue Navickas and finish the arrest, Holderness said. Considering the number of protesters and the fact they returned to the sidewalk after Navickas was confronted, "it made more sense to deal with the issue later," Holderness said.

Perrone had responded to the protest after a Rogue Valley Transportation District bus driver complained protesters were blocking access to a bus stop.

— Staff reports

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