Charges Amended For Man Arrested At Black Lives Matter Rally
OKLAHOMA CITY - Police arrested 24-year-old Brandon Lara during last Sunday’s Black Lives Matter rally after they observed him causing a public disturbance.
They later found smoke bombs in his backpack, but Friday, July 15, News 9 learned the District Attorney's Office is only pursuing misdemeanor charges.
Oklahoma City Police initially accused Lara of Attempting a Terrorist Hoax, Possession of an Explosive, and Being Masked or Disguised in Public.
OCPD PIO, Paco Balderrama said, “Officers made contact with the individual who started spouting out sovereign citizen rhetoric basically about how the laws of this country didn’t apply to him. People were getting very alarmed, mothers were literally taking their kids away from the area because of the way he was acting."
According to police reports, the District Attorney's Office reviewed evidence in the case and declined to file most of the felony charges against Lara. Reports state the district attorney is only planning on filing one charge of gross disturbance of public peace.
ACLU of Oklahoma representatives say after looking at video of the arrest they're not satisfied with the police decision to detain Lara.
Legal Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, Brady Henderson said, “The video shows officers talking to him like they would talk to a friend. No evidence that anybody was threatened.”
The arrest does not show Lara's actions leading up to his interaction with police, but Legal Director Of ACLU Oklahoma Brady Henderson said with Lara's arrest, the damage has already been done
Police told News 9 if Lara would've been cooperative from the beginning in explaining why he was masked and carrying smoke bombs, an arrest would've been unlikely.
The ACLU is still pursuing an independent investigation.