Judge rejects Saratoga BLM co-founder’s effort to drop obstruction, disorderly conduct charges
A judge has rejected an effort by Saratoga Black Lives Matter’s co-founder to drop charges related to his alleged disruption of a city meeting.
Alexis A. Figuereo is accused of taking the microphone away from a speaker at the April 4 Saratoga Springs City Council and preventing the meeting from continuing.
Figuereo was charged with misdemeanors of obstruction of governmental administration and a violation of disorderly conduct.
Figuereo’s attorney, Mark Mishler, argued in his motion that the charges were infringing on his client’s First Amendment right to speak. Also, he cited the fact that the meeting continued after Figuereo’s actions, but was subsequently stopped after another person’s actions.
“This inconsistency between the statement of the witness and the charging documents gives this court pause,” wrote Saratoga Springs City Court Judge Constantine DeStefano in the decision.
However, DeStefano wrote that the law requires the court to review the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, so the motion to dismiss must be denied.
Mishler said he is disappointed that the charges were not dismissed.
“We continue to believe, as set forth in the pretrial motions we filed, that this prosecution for speaking out at a City Council meeting on issues of great significance to the community is a violation of Mr. Figuereo’s constitutional rights,” he said in a statement.
“Mr. Figuereo is facing these charges due to his unwavering commitment to justice. We also continue to believe that one of the purposes of this prosecution is to intimidate activists from speaking out against racism in Saratoga Springs. If this case proceeds to trial, we will aim to turn the tables and place the City of Saratoga Springs on trial for its persistent violations of civil and constitutional rights,” Mishler went on to say.