Citing insufficient evidence, the Bartow County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday afternoon that charges have been dismissed for 64 of the 65 people arrested in the early morning hours on Dec. 31 during a 21st birthday party on Cain Drive in Cartersville.
Attorney Gerald A. Griggs, chair of the Georgia NAACP Criminal Justice Committee, was informed around 3 p.m. that almost all of the charges had been dropped against the #Cartersville70, as the NAACP has dubbed them.
The charges that were dropped were for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. The charge that was not dropped was for possession of cocaine, as the drug was found on the person of one man arrested during the search of the house, according to Griggs.
Griggs also said all three of the guns found at the house were legally owned.
“We were definitely satisfied that she made the right decision,” Griggs said of Bartow County DA Rosemary Greene’s dismissal of the charges. “Now, we’re going to shift gears and continue the civil rights investigation and see if we have any civil rights claims against the sheriff’s department.”
The Bartow County Drug Task Force previously said in a press release that the excess of 60 individuals were arrested for possession because the marijuana was in “everyone’s reach or control.” The DTF had also previously said one of the guns found at the house during the search was reported stolen from Detroit, Michigan.
While Griggs is pleased with the decision, he said the NAACP is still “in the early stages” of investigating a potential lawsuit.
“False arrests, illegal search, and there are some allegations of some potential issues that happened in the jail that may be issues of police brutality,” Griggs said of what is still being investigated by the civil rights organization.
The NAACP met Friday with Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor, Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini and Drug Task Force Commander Mark Mayton, as well as representatives from the Cartersville Police Department, District Attorney’s Office and Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
“...There are other matters related to this incident that we are continuing to seek closure on,” an NAACP press release said Friday. “We are confident that those concerns will be resolved.”