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Fake-weapon charge against Andy Lopez protester dropped

Prosecutors withdrew charges Wednesday against a Santa Rosa man accused of brandishing a fake gun during a protest of the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez.

Jose Godoy, 24, was accused of pulling a replica pistol during an Oct. 25 rally at the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

Prosecutor Jason Riehl told Judge Dana Simonds that more investigation of the incident is needed in order to prosecute. He dropped the charge and asked for more time to investigate a second brandishing allegation stemming from a Jan. 9 incident.

In that incident, Godoy was detained at gunpoint on a Santa Rosa street by sheriff's deputies reportedly responding to a tip that Godoy had brandished a firearm at a driver who was stopped in traffic. Godoy and two teen girls who were with him at the time said he was carrying a stapler, not a gun, and deputies found no gun when they searched Godoy.

One of the many Godoy supporters in the courtroom shouted, "Yeah!" when the charge was withdrawn. Godoy, who says he's being targeted for speaking out about the shooting, told the judge, "It's all lies."

He and at least one other protester facing charges, Ramon Cairo, 30, had a noisy confrontation with courthouse deputies after Wednesday's hearing. Cairo is suspected of assaulting a police sergeant in a December protest at City Hall.

Lopez was shot to death Oct. 22 by a sheriff's deputy who reportedly mistook the BB gun he was carrying for an AK-47 assault rifle, which it was designed to resemble. The killing has led to numerous public demonstrations and the formation of a county task force to suggest changes to police oversight.

Godoy is one of several protesters to be arrested during protests. He's also charged with vandalism and resisting arrest.

Prosecutors are considering whether to file charges against Godoy in a Jan. 16 theft at Friedman's Home Improvement that investigators said was caught on video. Godoy, who already is on probation in a 2012 child endangerment case, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing an officer and violation of probation Friday night after a deputy tried to question him about the suspected theft.

Godoy was not arrested on suspicion of the theft in that incident, however.

Prosecutors denied claims that Godoy is being singled out.


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