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Navickas pleads not guilty

 Posted: 4:05 PM July 19, 2011

Former Ashland City Councilman Eric Navickas today entered three pleas of not guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to charges stemming from a June 28 protest in Ashland against the expansion of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

Navickas was charged on July 7 with two counts of interfering with police and one count of disorderly conduct after the Jackson County District Attorney's Office reviewed evidence submitted by the Ashland Police Department.

The charges allege that Navickas encouraged marchers to walk in the street without the proper permit to do so, and resisted arrest by an Ashland police officer during the march, which was caught on video and posted on YouTube.

Navickas is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in Jackson County Circuit Court on August 15, at 1:30 p.m.

A Rogue Valley Transportation District bus driver called police to report that protesters were blocking access to a bus stop during the late June protest. Ashland police officer John Perrone 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, Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness said. The protesters ignored several police warnings to return to the sidewalk and Navickas was encouraging protesters to remain in the street, he said.

After Perrone confronted Navickas, the protesters returned to the sidewalk and the officer decided not to pursue Navickas and finish the arrest, Holderness said

The district attorney's office reviewed eye-witness reports, video of the incidents, and numerous police reports submitted by Ashland police before filing the charges against Navickas.

Navickas is going ahead with another protest against the ski area expansion at 4 p.m. today, in front of the U.S. Forest Service building on Washington Street in Ashland, he said. Protesters plan to stage in front of the building, then march on the sidewalk along Washington Street to its intersection with Ashland Street.

— Sam Wheeler

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