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One May Day protestor charged with assaulting a police officer has already been exonerated after video footage contradicting SPD's version of events surfaced. Now the

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Maria Jannett Morales: May Day Protestor Charged With Assaulting Cop Proven Innocent By YouTube Video, Attorney Says

Morales 150x120.jpg
One May Day protestor charged with assaulting a police officer has already been exonerated after video footage contradicting SPD's version of events surfaced. Now the attorney for a second claims the cops have once again been caught on camera embellishing the facts.

The attorney, Aaron Pelley, represents Maria Jannett Morales. The 30-year-old Morales is charged with assault in the fourth degree, a felony, for an incident that allegedly occurred near the intersection of First Avenue and Pike Street a few minutes before 6 p.m. on May 1.

According to a probable cause statement submitted to the King County Prosecutor's Office by SPD detective J.D. Mudd, Morales assaulted and verbally abused bicycle cop Sonya Fry. The alleged confrontation occurred near the end of the day, when tensions between police and protestors were running high as a result of anarchists wreaking havoc and smashing windows with wooden poles.

"There had been several verbal and physical assaults on officers trying to control the crowd," Mudd writes. "While trying to confiscate in appropriate signs/weapons Officer Fry assigned to form a line for a team of officers who were moving an arrested subject out of the area."

Mudd claims a line of news media photographing the arrest were obeying police orders to move backward when Morales "stepped up to the line of officers and started yelling."

"Morales got right up to Officer Fry and said, 'Okay bitch,' then punched Officer Fry in the chest with a closed fist," the probable cause statement reads. "Officer Fry grabbed Morales with the intent of placing her under arrest." Morales is also accused of kicking another cop in the leg as she struggled to get free of Fry.

Here's the video of the encounter (for a longer version that shows the heated atmosphere on the street before and after Morales' arrest, click here):Pelley concedes that Fry and Morales aren't centered in the frame, but he says it doesn't appear as though Morales -- listed in court documents as 5-feet, 113 pounds -- throws a punch. "There's no physical reaction [from Fry]," Pelley says. "It's just missing. You can clearly see this girl is walking by as police requested, it's plain as day."

Shouting makes it difficult to decipher the entire dialogue, but Fry can be heard barking orders to "Move back!" with Morales responding, "We are moving back!" Morales shuffles to her right, and Fry grabs her by the shoulders and hair, pulling her down on top of the police bikes. The videographer is then forced to move down the street, away from the action.

Morales has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Pelley says he's looking for the camerman -- YouTube user "nigelolympia" -- or other witnesses to testify in court.

Pelley compares Morales' case to that of Joshua Garland. Originally named as one of three co-defendants with Morales, Garland, a photographer for Real Change, was charged with third-degree assault for allegedly grabbing an officer's hand, twisting his arm, and trying to pull him into a crowd. Video posted on YouTube, however, proved that Garland was pulled by an officer, not the other way around. Prosecutors reviewed the footage and dropped all charges. Pelley says Morales' case appears to be another where SPD has "taken some liberties with the truth when filing charges."

Dan Donahoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, declined to comment on Morales' pending case, but confirmed that prosecutors have seen the YouTube footage, and said "we have probable cause to support the case."

According to court documents, Morales has no criminal record. She works as an emergency room technician in Bellevue, and records indicate her only prior run-ins with the law in King County were for speeding, failure to wear a seat belt, and improper use of an HOV lane. Morales is currently out on bail, and due to appear in court Thursday for a scheduling hearing.

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