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Prosecutors drop charges against Andy Lopez protester

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Sonoma County prosecutors announced Friday morning they will drop criminal charges against a Santa Rosa man arrested during a protest of the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff's deputy.

The decision in the case of Ramon Cairo, 31, of Santa Rosa, came after his three-day trial on two counts of resisting arrest ended in a hung jury.

Jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal on the first charge and 10-2 in favor of conviction on the second count.

Police testified Cairo hit two officers with a protest sign as he tried to enter a doorway to City Hall on Dec. 10. Cairo's lawyer denied any wrongdoing, claiming Cairo was singled out because he was openly critical of law enforcement.

Both sides showed a video recording of the confrontation.

Cairo, an ex-convict who has emerged as a leader in the Lopez shooting protest movement, did not take the witness stand.

One juror said afterwards that deliberations were hampered by inconsistent police statements and a lack of clear evidence.

The City Hall protest was one of more than a dozen since Lopez was killed Oct. 22 on a southwest Santa Rosa sidewalk by a sheriff's deputy who reportedly mistook an airsoft BB gun the teen was carrying for an AK-47 rifle.

An investigation is underway by the District Attorney's Office to decide if criminal charges should be filed against the deputy, Erick Gelhaus.

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