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Couple arrested during Ferguson protest in Boston found ‘not responsible’

Two Boston public school teachers arrested in December during a wave of protests against the killings of unarmed black men around the country have been found “not responsible’’ of civil infractions by a Boston Municipal Court judge, officials said.

Addis Summerhill and her husband Edward Summerhill, both of Dorchester, were arrested by police on Dec. 4 as they and other protestors marched through the South Station neighborhood in downtown Boston near a highway entry ramp.

“It was important for us to stand up for what we knew was right,” Addis Summerhill said in a statement issued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.


At their arraignment in the BMC, the Summerhills accepted an offer from Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office to have the criminal charges they faced converted into civil infractions of disturbing the peace and trespassing, according to ACLU attorney Carlton E. Williams, who represented the couple.

At the same time, the Summerhills insisted that they did not do anything wrong during the protest and demanded a trial on the civil infractions of disturbing the peace and trespassing, said Williams.

“It was strictly on moral grounds,’’ Williams said.

The couple appeared before BMC Judge David J. Breen on Tuesday. Williams said he read the police report and summarized his client’s position to Breen and after brief delays, the judge ruled that the Summerhills were “not responsible’’ for the civil infractions, he said.

Williams said that in a criminal case, a judge or jury find a person guilty or not guilty; the parallel language in a civil case is “not responsible,’’ he said.

Jake Wark, spokesman for Conley, said prosecutors had agreed last month to eliminate the criminal charges. “We believe it was a fair offer,’’ Wark said.

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.


An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the disposition of the civil charges against two Boston public school teachers arrested in December during a protest against police use of deadly force against black men.