COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - More than twenty people arrested during a peaceful protest in Uptown Columbus are making their first appearances in court.
All but one of the 21 protesters making appearances entered pleas of no contest to Judge Hunter in Columbus Recorder’s Court. All are charged with failure to disperse and are being represented by attorney, and District Attorney candidate, Mark Jones. One person paid a $250 fine and was free to go.
Some of the defendants have underlying, unrelated charges from prior incidents.
These arrests came during a second protest along Broadway in Uptown Columbus on Sunday afternoon.
Court testimony revealed that there was no city permit for the original protest, but Mayor Skip Henderson approved the event, allowing it to continue due to its peaceful nature.
Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren told the protesters not to cross 13th St. because it is a busy intersection. Chief Boren allowed the second protest to continue until they approached 13th St., at which time he ordered that they stop and turn around. When they did not, officers began placing people under arrest.
CPD says that while they did not agree with the full message behind the protests, they fully supported the rights of the protesters to say it.
Judge Julius Hunter remarked that he understands the importance of peaceful protest and said it is “not an us against them type of thing, it’s a we thing.”
The maximum sentence for these charges is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
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