An Akron woman arrested for refusing to come down from a tree won’t be spending any more time in jail.
The city of Akron decided to drop the charges against Sharon Pritt, 31, of Balch Street. She was charged with obstruction of justice and criminal trespassing, both misdemeanors, following a June incident in which she initially refused to climb down from an ash tree in Highland Square.
Pritt was protesting plans to cut down the tree.
“The property owners wanted to move forward,” Assistant City Prosecutor Craig Morgan said, referring to the Nemer family, which owns the site. “We followed suit. Nobody wanted to labor on it.”
Morgan said this wasn’t a reflection of the quality of the city’s case.
“We could have proceeded further,” he said. “We chose not to.”
Pritt was arrested June 4 and briefly jailed. Her refusal to get out of the tree delayed the start of cutting it down by about an hour.
The protest started a week earlier, when residents learned the tree would be taken down to make way for a 25,000-square-foot retail and apartment building planned for the north side of West Market Street at the former site of the Von and Crescent apartment buildings. Protesters remained in the tree 24 hours a day until Pritt’s arrest. A tree-trimming company then immediately began the removal.
Protesters said they were allowed on the property because they had permission of a tenant who lives in a house near where the tree was located. The Nemer family owns the property with both the house and where the tree stood, however, and plans to develop it into the retail and apartment complex.
Emily S. Durway, Pritt’s attorney, previously said her client was innocent of the charges. She could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.