SJC upholds Suffolk DA's decision not to prosecute protesters at 'Straight Pride' rally

A speaker at the so-called "Straight Pride" rally cannot claim he is a victim of disorderly conduct by protesters of the event, the state's highest court ruled Thursday.

The decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upholds Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins' decision to nolle prosequi -- decline to prosecute — protesters at the rally who were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and assault and battery on police officers, among other charges.

In his complaint, Rinaldo Del Gallo — who was a marcher and speaker at the rally — says the protesters interfered with his First Amendment rights. But the SJC found there was no evidence that Del Gallo was prevented from speaking.

It is "difficult to find any specific allegation in his lengthy complaint suggesting that any of the charged individuals or their conduct actually prevented him from marching or speaking or even interfered in any way with his doing so," the SJC wrote in its ruling.

Del Gallo does not claim to have been the victim of any act of violence, nor does he identify any specific people who directly affected him.

The decision also notes that "disorderly conduct" is a crime "against the public peace" — not a crime against a person. Therefore, Del Gallo cannot pursue this action.

Del Gallo is an attorney who represented Mark Sahady, who was charged with taking part in the siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The prosecution of those arrested at the so-called "Straight Pride" parade has been in the courts before. Notably, in September 2019, the Supreme Judicial Court said that Boston Municipal Court had no authority to reject Rollins' decision to not prosecute one of the protesters.


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Meghan B. Kelly Multi-platform Editor
Meghan is the multi-platform editor for WBUR.



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