Prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against the Black Lives Matter protester who was carried on the hood of an SUV across the Pensacola Bay Bridge earlier this summer.
Jason Uphaus, 36, was charged July 2 with disorderly conduct and criminal mischief in connection to the incident, which unfolded during a protest June 7.
“While probable cause existed for an arrest, there is insufficient evidence to proceed with this case,” said State Attorney Bill Eddins in a news release issued Thursday explaining the decision to dismiss the charges.
The incident: Police investigating after protester carried across Pensacola Bay Bridge on vehicle’s hood
The arrest: Pensacola police arrest protester who placed himself on SUV hood during bridge protest
Eddins said the driver of the SUV failed to cooperate or adequately communicate with prosecutors during a follow up investigation.
“Based on the victim’s lack of cooperation as well as the facts and circumstances of this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove these chargers beyond a reasonable doubt,” Eddins said.
The incident began June 7 as a group of protesters staged a protest to block all traffic on the bridge by locking arms in a straight line. As an SUV tried to drive through the line, Uphaus placed himself on the hood of the vehicle, according to authorities and videos of the incident captured by bystanders.
Drivers stopped in traffic on the bridge captured cellphone videos of Uphaus clinging to the SUV as the vehicle drove over the bridge
Uphaus was carried on the vehicle’s hood across the entire length of the three-mile long bridge before Gulf Breeze police eventually stopped the vehicle and spoke with both parties. At one point, Uphaus was seen in videos breaking the driver’s side mirror.
Pensacola Police Department spokesman Mike Wood later told the News Journal that the driver of the SUV called law enforcement while going across the bridge.
“He spoke with Gulf Breeze PD and said that he was in fear of being assaulted if he stopped the car,” Wood said. “He told them, please come and help me get this man off my car. That is what happened.”
This story will be updated as new information emerges.
Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8680.