Charges in a high profile case against students arrested at school in Murfreesboro will be dropped.
The arrests of the children at Hobgood Elementary and other Murfreesboro schools in April infuriated parents along with civic and religious leaders.
A couple kids were handcuffed, and it raised questions about constitutional violations.
The ACLU and other critics said dropping the charges would be the right thing to do.
The arrests stemmed from a YouTube video posted by one of the 12-year-old suspects showing a bullying incident off campus.
In the video a smaller child hit the victim from behind. Seconds later, another joins in throwing more punches.
The group could be heard egging them on. All the kids involved were arrested at school and charged with criminal responsibility for egging things on.
“We don’t want to repeat this. We need to do things differently,” said new Murfreesboro police chief Karl Durr last month.
He immediately took steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s not the way I want things to go down. It’s not the way I want things to happen,” said Durr.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of Tennessee ACLU agreed. “These charges are so wrong and should never have been brought,” said Weinberg.
The ACLU arranged pro-bono attorneys for the children facing the criminal charges. Weinberg expected they’d have their day in juvenile court, but then we shared that sources said the charges would go away.
“We are hopeful and believe the charges should be dropped,” said Weinberg who hoped if that occurs everyone involved will turn what happened into something more positive.
“It offers an opportunity for the police department and schools to create relationship with clear guidelines of what should happen and of how these arrests take place,” said Weinberg.
The criminal responsibility charges may be dropped, but legal troubles remained for three of the young students. They were also charged in a separate case for a very serious crime: Rape of a 12-year-old girl.