Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Protest After Georgia July 4th Centennial Olympic Park Celebration Ends in Multiple Obstruction Arrests

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

A group of roughly 50 people marched from Woodruff Park to Centennial Olympic park last night after the July 4th celebrations. They were protesting the U.S. immigration policy that has been all over the news – the policy that separates children from their parents. According to reports, several of the individuals allegedly wore masks, threw items at cop cars, and refused to clear out from the roadway.

It ended with 6 individuals being detained for the criminal offenses of pedestrian in roadway and obstruction of a law enforcement officer in Georgia.

News reports state that City of Atlanta police made the arrests only after determining that the crowd was not intending to comply with their orders. Some of the individuals that were arrested allegedly attempted to block the officers from making more arrests.

However, reports conflict from members of the protesting group. One of the protesters, Ellenina Iacobucci, states that she was shoved to the ground whle filming the exchange between the protesters and the police. She said that she never saw anyone throw anything at police or at the patrol cars.

Fortunately, there were no injuries to either protesters or officers after the incident. Just a few varying versions of the story. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I am aware that there are usually at least two sides to every story. We operate in this country under the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In today's post, I will highlight the offense of obstruction as it is a common offense, and in Georgia, it can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense, the two types of obstruction vary greatly in penalties.

Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer in Georgia

  • Running from an officer
  • Threatening an officer
  • Hitting an officer
  • Resisting arrest, with or without using force
  • Hindering a police investigation
  • Lying to an officer
  • Giving false or misleading information to an officer

These are all examples of obstruction in Georgia.

(1) A misdemeanor obstruction charge is defined by Georgia law as:

When a person knowingly or willfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties.” O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(a). 

If convicted of the misdemeanor obstruction offense, the penalty can include up to twelve months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.

(2) A felony obstruction charge is defined by Georgia law as: 

When a person knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any law enforcement officer, prison guard, correctional officer, community supervision officer, probation officer, or conservation officer in the lawful discharge of his or her official duties by offering or doing violence to the person.” O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(b). 

If convicted of the felony obstruction offense, the penalty can include anywhere from one to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $300, community service, or anger management classes.

Practice Note

As you can see, the difference between misdemeanor and felony obstruction is the act of offering or doing violence to the law enforcement officer. This can lead to a huge difference in punishment if you are convicted.

If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a crime in Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today. There are a vast amount of Georgia Criminal Defenses that may apply to your specific case. Some of the defenses to an accusation of obstruction include:

  • Lack of evidence
  • Lack of intent
  • Lack of probably cause for the arrest

Like I said, these are only a few of the common defenses that apply in an obstruction case. There are more. Your defense starts today. Contact us now.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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