Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri made the announcement on Thursday morning.
An Erie police officer who kicked a seated protester on May 30 will not face criminal charges, Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri announced Thursday.
Daneri also said that the protester, 21-year-old Hannah Silbaugh, will not face charges.
At a Thursday morning news conference, Daneri said the officer’s actions did not warrant prosecution. Daneri added that the officer, who has not been identified by city of Erie officials, had the right to use that kind of force under the circumstances.
Daneri also mentioned that, at the time Silbaugh was kicked, police and a law enforcement vehicle needed to get past a line of protesters to attend to more serious violence in the area.
In referring to Silbaugh and other protesters, Daneri said that although they could have been charged with failure to disperse, his office declined to file those charges because of the facts and in the interest of moving forward.
The Erie Bureau of Police referred the case to Daneri’s office after conducting an internal investigation.
Erie Mayor Joe Schember on June 15 announced that the officer would be suspended for three days without pay and would remain on desk duty until he completed sensitivity training.
Schember said the internal investigation showed that the officer followed Erie police’s use-of-force policy, "but that the manner in which it was applied by the officer was inappropriate."
Silbaugh was first Maced and then kicked shortly before 11:30 p.m., several hours after a protest on May 30 over the death of George Floyd, the Black Minneapolis resident who died in police custody there on May 25.
By the time Silbaugh, who is white, was sitting in the middle of State Street, by Perry Square, a group of peaceful protesters from an earlier demonstration had largely left the area and the protest turned violent as other people arrived.
The kick was caught on video and quickly went viral.
Silbaugh filed an internal affairs complaint alleging that the officer assaulted her by kicking her.
Her lawyer, Timothy McNair, has also filed for a writ of summons in Erie County Court, which is the first step toward filing a lawsuit. McNair also requested the name of the officer involved, which city officials have declined to release.
Contact Madeleine O’Neill at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ETNoneill.