Trespassing charges dropped for Creek Casino protesters - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Trespassing charges dropped for Creek Casino protesters

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WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) -

The charges against four Muscogee Creek Indians accused of trespassing on the Creek Casino Construction site in Wetumpka have been dropped.

A protest at the Creek Casino by the Muscogee Creek Indians back in February ended with four of them behind bars, each charged with trespassing. One of the four men even found himself charged with making a terrorist threat.

WSFA 12 News previously reported that Wayland Gray led the protest and promptly walked onto the property with the hope of 'honoring' the ancestors who were buried there. Each man in the group led by Gray was arrested for trespassing. Gray was also charged with making a terrorist threat.

Today in Elmore County Circuit Court, the trespassing charges were dropped against all four men. And Wayland Gray's terrorist threat charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. 

"We feel that all this expense and imposition is a harassment," said attorney for the four men, Bill Baxley. "All of these people were well within their rights with everything they did."

Gray is set to go to trial on his remaining misdemeanor charge on August 29, 2013.

An e-mail back in February from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians stated, "The Tribe reserves the right to restrict access to a site for safety reasons."

A second statement issued said the men were advised to leave and they did not heed that warning. The Poarch Band claims the four men made threatening comments and were repeatedly warned that they were trespassing and facing imminent arrest. 

Baxley disagrees with the Poarch Creek statement.

"These men notified the authorities they were coming," he said. "They were trying to exercise their freedom of religion, their civil right of religion. And they wanted to pay their respects to their ancestors."

Currently there is a suit pending in federal court filed by the Muscogee Creek Nation in an effort to stop the construction on the Creek Casino expansion on the grounds that it is being built on the tribe's sacred Hickory Ground.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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