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Politically Charged: Last Phoenix protest case to be dismissed

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Posted at 8:55 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-10 02:02:57-04

PHOENIX — Following a series of ABC15 investigative reports, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is set to dismiss the last remaining protest case brought by the Phoenix Police Department in 2020.

Prosecutors notified Suvarna Ratnam’s defense attorney late Friday that the office will file a motion to dismiss the case with prejudice next week.

The case will join 38 other protest prosecutions brought by Phoenix police and MCAO to be officially dismissed in the wake of ABC15’s Politically Charged investigation, activists and defense attorneys said.

“Based on evidence disclosed by the defense, the State has determined dismissal is in the interests of justice,” according to a draft of the motion obtained by ABC15.


Officers arrested Suvarna Ratnam on August 23, 2020 on multiple Aggravated Assault charges.

In jail booking documents, officers alleged Ratnam threw a water bottle and then turned to run from an officer.

“As she was running south a police sergeant came northbound from Monroe Stree and also told (Ratnam) to stop. She took the umbrella in her hand and started to swing it back and forth with force while running towards the police sergeant. Then then [sic] leveled the umbrella towards the police sergeant and used it as a weapon to stab him in the hand. The stabbing occurred with such force that it broke the skin of the police sergeant’s right palm and caused him to bleed. The umbrella that was used as a weapon has a 3 inch sharpened metal tip on it that struck the police sergeant that it bent the metal of the umbrella,” according to the officers’ account of what happened.

Multiple cell phone videos show Ratnam never swung the umbrella or leveled it. The videos show her attempting to run past the sergeant.

An evidence photo of the umbrella’s tip also shows that it was not sharpened or bent.

The sergeant’s right hand doesn’t appear to touch the umbrella tip, according to the videos. Instead, the sergeant raises his right arm and wraps it around Ratnam’s neck and shoulders as he tackles her to the ground.

MCAO assigned a new prosecutor to protest cases after the previous one was placed on leave following ABC15’s reports.

The previous prosecutor, April Sponsel, is accused of misrepresenting evidence and exaggerating facts to grand juries in multiple protest cases.

The most notorious decision involves Sponsel and Phoenix police working together to charge a group of protesters arrested on October 17 as a criminal street gang.

Ratnam was also one of the people arrested on October 17, but those charges have also been dismissed with prejudice.

A judge ruled in June that officials’ conduct in the gang case was “egregious” and “absurd.”

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at