After dropping the conspiracy charges and reducing the criminal charges to civil infractions, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter issued the following statement*:
“The decision that Assistant District Attorney Robert Kidd and I reached today was a decision that certainly took into consideration the cost to the taxpayers in Somerset, but was also made with our concern for their children, the children of Bristol County and beyond in mind. Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced. In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been gravely lacking.
I am heartened that we were able to forge an agreement that both parties were pleased with and that appeared to satisfy the police and those here in sympathy with the individuals who were charged. I am also extremely pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that symbolizes our commitment at the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office to take a leadership role on this issue.
It’s very inspiring to me and I will carry that with me in my heart. Thank you.
Rabbi Katy Allen: Will you be an example for across the country?
Sutter: I certainly will be in New York in two weeks, how’s that? I’ve been carrying around Bill McKibben’s article in Rolling Stone.
I’m sending a message that this was an act of civil disobedience. I’m not at all disputing that the individuals were charged, but this was the right disposition, it was reduced to a civil infraction, it was civil disobedience after all, and restitution is going to the Town of Somerset in full, and part of the state police’s expenses will be paid for, so this is about as good and reasonable a disposition as could be reached.
Climate change is one of the gravest crises the planet has ever faced. The evidence is overwhelming and it keeps getting worse. So we took a stand here today, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.”
*This is an informal transcript based on a video taken outside the courthouse.