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Statement of District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.

March 23, 2021

With regard to recent protests in the Main South area in Worcester, I made the decision to recuse myself due to a conflict I have with Clark University.

A decision to Nolle Prosequi cases against 17 defendants was made after a careful review of the evidence by our Senior First Assistant and First Assistant in charge of Appeals after reviewing case law and our Rules of Professional Conduct 3.8: Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor. Each and every case was individually reviewed at length with every piece of video, written and testimonial evidence considered before any prosecutorial decisions were made in these matters. It was determined that these misdemeanor charges lacked sufficient evidence for trial.

I fully support their decisions. No one was arrested for throwing bricks, rocks, concrete, bottles, or anything else at police officers. No one was charged with destruction of property whatsoever. No one was charged with shooting flares, fireworks or surrounding a police cruiser. There was no case involving an assault on a Worcester police officer that was dismissed. There are several cases still pending based on other sets of facts, including one case that resulted in a plea, one that is pending and a third that was federally indicted.

First and foremost, I was elected district attorney to ensure justice is carried out in our criminal justice system. That is the mission our office carries out every day. Sometimes this requires making decisions that are unpopular to some, but we have to be independent in our determinations and I always will be.