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Black Lives Matter Protesters Arrested for Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest

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Law Abiding Protesters Getting Charged With Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest

Over the past year, numerous Americans across the country have passionately vocalized their stance against state law enforcement violence towards unarmed criminal suspects who are African American. A movement has begun that supports raising awareness of this nationwide issue, and activists who belong to the movement have banded together to organize protests in a number of states. The main entity in the movement that is gathering traction with the people is a campaign known as Black Lives Matter. Unfortunately, many of the people involved in these gatherings are getting charged with crimes such as disorderly conduct, resisting arrest. 

Fifteen Arrested In Black Lives Matter Protest

MassLive reports that on April 14th, 2015, a group of 15 Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested after temporarily blocking traffic during a protest at The X, a well-known and busy intersection, in Springfield, Massachusetts. The protest started just as any normal demonstration does, with about 40 participants carrying signs and reciting anti-police chants as they walked from downtown Springfield to the X intersection. Police followed and monitored the demonstration, which is fairly typical police protocol, to make sure that the protest activities remained peaceful. Upon arrival at the X intersection, a group of 15 protesters linked arms and moved into the intersection in an attempt to block traffic and to shutdown the intersection.

Police warned the protesters to permit traffic through the intersection, but the demonstrators refused and were arrested, citing public safety concerns. The protesters were cuffed and taken into custody. They were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Their arraignment hearings were held the next day, and every one of the 15 protesters denied their charges and were released on their own recognizance and ordered to return to the District Court in May for their respective pretrial hearings.

The Crime of Disorderly Person or Conduct

In order to obtain a conviction of disorderly conduct, the District Attorney will be required to prove that the protestors/defendants:

 

  • Engaged in fighting or threatening behavior, violent or tumultuous behavior, or created a hazardous or physically offensive condition;
  • Were reasonably likely to impact or affect the public; and
  • Intended to cause a public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly created a risk of public inconvenience.

When commenting on the arrest of the 15 protesters, police spokesman Sgt. John Delaney, in a second MassLive article, described how the officers at the scene were concerned that an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance or a firetruck, would be unable to get through the disrupted intersection, and these concerns are what prompted the arrests.

The Crime of Resisting Arrest

In order to obtain a conviction for resisting arrest, the District Attorney will be required to prove that the protestors/defendants:

 

  • Knowingly prevented or attempted to prevent an officer from making an arrest by either:
    • Use of physical force or the threat of using physical force against the arresting officer; or
    • Engaging in any action that could result in a risk of harm or bodily injury to the officer.

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