SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Monday that criminal charges will not be filed against the eight protesters arrested during a rally at the San Marcos Preserve earlier this year.
On Feb. 25, a group of people gathered at the preserve to protest a construction project on its land.
Deputies were informed of the situation the evening before and monitored the rally overnight. However, when contractors arrived in the morning with equipment, a group of protesters mobilized to block the entrance to the preserve.
Deputies said they repeatedly informed the protestors that blocking access was illegal and could result in arrest. While some protesters complied, others did not and were consequently arrested and cited for willfully obstructing the free movement of any person.
One additional man was also issued a citation by deputies for reportedly locking himself to a gate post at the entrance to the private property during the protest.
The DA said, while the contractor initially wanted law enforcement involvement, the property owner who employed the contractor said he did not want charges to be filed.
The DA said both the property owner's and the contractor's input was taken into consideration at the time of the arrests and at the time of making a filing decision.