Bay Bridge protesters offered pre-trial diversion to avoid criminal charges

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office offered pre-trial diversion to the defendants charged for their involvement in a pro-Palestine protest on the Bay Bridge to avoid criminal prosecution.

Prosecutors said that 78 of the defendants accepted the court's offer, which included completing five hours of community service within two months.

Additionally, the defendants are required to pay restitution to a victim who was evacuated from the Bay Bridge. The total amount of restitution will be determined at a later date.

One defendant declined the court's pre-trial diversion offer and is scheduled to appear in court on April 15.

Prosecutors are dismissing charges against one person due to insufficient evidence.

In the separate legal proceeding involving retired firefighter Masoud Barukzai, he said he wants prosecutors to drop misdemeanor charges of unlawful public assembly and failure to disperse. 

"I would hope that once they review everything they need to review, they would clearly see that I'm not part of this. There's no evidence that could tie me to something like this," Barukzai told KTVU on Thursday. 

Barukzai, who is Muslim from Afghanistan, said he was on his way to catch a flight when he was caught up in the Gaza protest and wrongfully detained.  

San Francisco D.A. Brooke Jenkins issued a statement that read, "We will continue to ensure that appropriate avenues for the expression of free speech and social advocacy exist and are protected in San Francisco. I truly believe that we can achieve engaging in free expression while maintaining the safety of our communities." 

KTVU's Cristina Rendon contributed to this report.