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Charges dropped against Rosario Dawson

Actress arrested while using protest as film backdrop
/ Source: Reuters

Prosecutors Tuesday dropped all charges against actress Rosario Dawson stemming from her arrest while filming a protest scene during a real-life rally outside the Republican National Convention.

Dawson, fellow actress Vija Grosgalves and their director, Stephen Marshall, had been arrested in August and charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration following, facing up to one year in jail if convicted. The case was dismissed as the three were about to go on trial in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Dawson, 25, and Grosgalves, 28, were arrested while shooting a scene for a film about political protests, using an actual rally by thousands of anti-Bush demonstrators marching past Madison Square Garden as a backdrop.

Police said the pair were blocking traffic and violating municipal laws that bar protesters from concealing their identity with masks. When Marshall showed officers they had a legitimate permit from the city, police handcuffed him, too, and hauled away all three.

But Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eric Arnone told Justice Melissa Jackson that video footage of the incident made clear “that neither street nor pedestrian traffic was being obstructed as a result of the defendants’ actions ... and that they remained civil and followed the directives of the police.”

Dawson’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, hailed the dismissal as a ”complete vindication” of his client.

At the time of her arrest, Dawson was shooting a scene for the independent film “This Revolution,” an homage to the 1969 drama “Medium Cool,” about violence that erupted outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.