Prosecutors in Florida on Monday dropped fees in opposition to a Black man who was arrested earlier this yr as a part of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ purported crackdown on voter fraud.
But prosecutors filed a discover of nolle prosequi on Monday, indicating they may now not longer pursue legal fees in opposition to Patterson — finally amounting to a dismissal of the case. Patterson is the primary individual to have their fees dropped, though a judge previously tossed out a criminal case in opposition to Robert Lee Wood, 56, who was additionally amongst these arrested this summer time.
Convicted felons are allowed to vote in Florida until they have been discovered responsible of felony sexual crimes or homicide. The 20 folks arrested this summer time weren’t allowed to legally vote because of this, however say that they weren’t conscious — partly as a result of the state had issued them voter registration playing cards after approving their functions.
In October, The Tampa Bay Times obtained and released body-camera footage of Patterson and others being arrested for voter fraud after an investigation by DeSantis’ Office of Election Crimes and Security.
“What is wrong with this state, man?” Patterson mentioned whereas being escorted in handcuffs, in accordance with the Times. “Voter fraud? Y’all said anybody with a felony could vote, man.”
In a information convention on the time, DeSantis celebrated the arrests as a mandatory step to cease unlawful voting. But critics have mentioned the arrests increase issues concerning the disenfranchisement and focused assaults on deprived residents in America: At least 12 of the folks arrested have been registered as Democrats and 19 of them have been Black.