The Straight Pride Parade that we've been hearing about all summer long, happened over the Labor Day Weekend. The organizers and marchers were met this past weekend with counter protesters who came from all over to voice their disapproval of the parade. They ended up getting rowdy, started pushing and shoving, and some even assaulted a police officer. The protesters were then arrested and charged. There was a total of 36 protesters arrested. The charges included: resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, and assault and battery on a police officer.
Half of the charged protesters went before judges the Tuesday after their arrest and Judge Sinnott dismissed just two of the charges against two of the protesters; a 63 year old woman from Vermont & a 21 year old man from Worcester. Both people had nonviolent charges; disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. The news of Judges Sinnott and Horgan (both judges who heard all the calls for dismissal of charges) decision to NOT drop the majority of the charges brought against these protesters comes as a surprise to most, given Massachusetts history of having liberal judges. Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins profusely disagrees with this decision by both judges. She believes "the judge punished the exercise of individuals’ First Amendment right to protest." She has taken it upon herself to fight against the judges' decisions:
Despite the defense attorney's urgency to get these protesters charges dropped, the judges stood strong in their decision to uphold these charges. A half a dozen people were taken into custody and their cash bails ranged from $250-$750. There was one man who was held without bail. The assault and battery charges on the police were due to the fact that some protesters did physically assault the officers and had thrown bottles of urine at them, thus interfering with them doing their jobs. In addition, four officers were injured doing their jobs. The Boston Police Patrolman's Association is very happy about both Judge Sinnott and Horgan's approach to these charges thus far. Larry Calderone, the VP of the BPPA spoke to local news outlets saying: “We couldn’t be happier at the moment with the judge that’s on the bench. We are here to make sure the DA prosecutes these offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”
Today, the other half of the protesters charged will appear in court. So far, things have already heated up in court...Judge Sinnott has placed Defense Attorney Susan Church in contempt. She was representing one of the counter protesters before the judge and had begun reading case law, making the argument that the judge had no authority to reject the prosecution's decision not to prosecute many of the counter-protesters. Judge Sinnott warned Church to stop reading, she did not so she was taken into custody...
This case just keeps getting better and better...stay tuned for more. We'll be paying attention to what unfolds because we don't know about you, but we're loving how Judges Sinnott and Horgan are cracking the whip!