Charges against 17 Black Lives Matter protesters arising from a Commerical Street protest last summer have been erased.

In January, the protesters, who blocked a section of Commercial Street on a busy summer night and were arrested after refusing to disperse, agreed to plead guilty to violating a city ordinance on disorderly conduct. The deal called for the 17 to pay $200 each toward a victims’ compensation fund and to attend a “restorative justice” meeting with Portland police officials to discuss the protest. The protesters paid the fine, but the meeting with police fell apart after the protesters refused to be split into two groups to talk to Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck and were told that a representative of the District Attorney’s Office would also attend the session.

The January deal called for the charges to be dismissed after six months, as long as the protesters abided by the terms of the deal and did not commit any criminal offenses in the interim. That deadline lapsed Wednesday and none of the protesters committed new offenses, said Jennifer Ackerman, an assistant district attorney in Cumberland County, so the court will automatically wipe out the charges.

In essence, the protesters and the DA’s office agreed to disagree over whether the group had complied with the terms of the deal on the meeting with police, Ackerman said. However, the DA’s office already lost an effort to have a judge determine that the protesters had breached the agreement. The judge refused to do so in May and turned aside the DA’s office request to have the original criminal charges restored.

Although the judge called for both sides to try again on the meeting, it never took place. After the judge’s ruling, DA Stephanie Anderson said she would not seek to reschedule the meeting and that he protesters would have to come to her to reset the session, which they did not do.

“To put the onus on my clients is entirely unfair,” lawyer Tom Hallett, who represented the protesters at the hearing in May, said Wednesday. “This was a clear victory for the Black Lives Matter side.”

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