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Pima County Attorney dismisses charges against UA students in Border Patrol incident

Posted at 12:10 PM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 17:02:05-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Prosecutors have dismissed the criminal charges against three students at the University of Arizona who interrupted an event with Border Patrol agents last month.

A spokesperson for Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall says officials at the university told them an administrative investigation at the school would afford the students due process, and allow the victims to give their perspective on the incident. Prosecutors dropped the charges Friday.

RELATED: UA president to hold 'Campus Conversations' after clash between students, Border Patrol

The three students were charged with interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution after they interrupted an event by a criminal justice student group's event with Border Patrol agents, who were there to discuss job opportunities after graduation. The protesters shouted at the agents, calling them "Murder Patrol" and forcing them off campus.

After prosecutors filed charges in the incident weeks later, activists on campus held a number of protests demanding the charges be dropped.

The Pima County Attorney's office says the students could still face disciplinary action through the univeristy, if they're found to have violated the school's code of conduct.

Art del Cueto, who represents the Border Patrol agents' union, says the Pima County Attorney's decision sends the wrong message.

"Put the Border Patrol uniform aside. This sends the message that we can openly harass individuals that we disagree with," he said. "We can verbally attack anyone that may be wearing something we do not agree with."

In a statement, the three students involved in the incident say they're happy with the decision to drop the charges against them, but are demanding further action:

"We also want to underscore that these politically motivated charges have been dropped despite of, and not because of, President Robbins and the University of Arizona Police Department. It is important that we still demand all punitive measures against us permanently cease. We want an apology from President Robbins and a promise that he will never again jeopardize the safety or free speech of students in service of Border Patrol."