Tag Archives: Columbus Pride

QPOC Protesters of Columbus Pride Found Guilty on 6 of 8 Misdemeanor Counts for Blocking Parade

QPOC Protesters at Columbus Pride Found Guilty on 6 of 8 Misdemeanor Counts for Blocking Parade

Yesterday a Franklin County jury convicted 3 QPOC Black and Trans activists on six misdemeanor counts of “disorderly conduct” and “failure to obey”  from a 2017 Columbus Pride protest of police violence, violence against trans women and marginalization of people of color within the LGBTQ community.

On June 17, 2017 a week after a similar protest at Capital Pride in Washington, D.C. that delayed the Pride parade for hours, a group of 10 people blocked the Columbus Pride parade. The participants, who said they were unaware of the D.C. action, wanted to protest the June 16 acquittal of the Minnesota police officer who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop. The group also hoped to raise awareness about the violence against and erasure of black and brown queer and trans people, and in particular the lack of safe space for black and brown people at Pride festivals”

During the demonstration, the protesters linked arms and stepped into the street and refused to move despite numerous warnings by the police. Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton and Deandre Miles — were duly arrested.

After refusing a plea bargain consisting of no jail time and doing community service. Yesterday the jury convicted Bennet of disorderly conduct, failure to comply with a police officer’s orders and resisting arrest; Braxton of disorderly conduct and failure to comply; and Denton of disorderly conduct. 

Deandre Miles, the fourth person arrested on June 17, faces a felony charge and will be tried separately. He’s charged with aggravated robbery, accused of jumping on a police officer’s back during the incident and reaching for her gun.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Bennet, Braxton and Denton interrupted the Pride parade as it moved past Columbus City Hall and that they ignored repeated police commands to move back onto the sidewalks.

“These orders were given as officers arrived … and were given throughout this incident,” Prosecutor Isaac Rinsky told jurors in closing arguments.

But instead of following police orders, Rinsky said, Denton pushed forward against officers, while Bennet continued to lock arms with other activists. Braxton pulled away from a police officer as he tried to subdue her, the prosecutor said, causing the officer to injure a knee.

It’s not a surprise how we’re going to respond to certain events,” Sgt. Weiner said, referring to CPD’s standard protocol, an Action-Response Use of Force Continuum, which he explained is public information. He also said police presence and verbal commands to move are forms of de-escalation and that charges by the protesters that they did not try to de escalate the situation are unfounded.

Protesters and groups such as Black Lives Matter, No Justice, No Pride and GetEqual are making demands of Stonewall Columbus, including: an official call for charges against the #BlackPride4 to be dropped; ask for an investigation by the Department of Justice into CPD’s “use of force against people of color”; pay for the #BlackPride4′s legal fees; and hire community-based security for future events.

To date, Stonewall Columbus has not agreed to any of the demands.

From June 2017

 

Sources: Bob Vitale of PRIZM and Columbus Alive

4 QPOC Protesters Arrested At Columbus PRIDE After Altercation With Police – [Videos]

Four people were arrested and one could face aggravated robbery charges after a PRIDE protest that left a Columbus police officer injured and with one protester arrested for attempting to disarm one of the officers. 

According to a post published on the International Socialist Organization Columbus Facebook page, “a group of Black queer activists interrupted Columbus’ corporate pride parade to bring attention to the not guilty verdict for the officer who murdered Philando Castile, as well as other POC [people of color], particularly trans POC, who have been murdered by police.”

The group with messages on their shirts like “pride is political” and black tape on their mouths. were trying to draw attention to racism at pride and in LGBT community.

The official Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade Facebook page posted the following update about the incident later in the afternoon:

“We are aware that several people were arrested at the Pride Parade today. We have contacted the highest county and city officials in order to guarantee their safety. We have sent legal representation from Stonewall to assist those that have been arrested. This situation is ongoing, and we will comment further when we have more facts and can be sure those in custody are safe.”

The Columbus Division of Police reports:.

The suspects wouldn’t obey officers orders to leave the roadway at the parade this morning,” stated the CPD via social media. “Charges range from, Resisting Arrest-Causing Harm to a Police Officer, Fail to Comply with a Police Officers Order or Signal to Disorderly Conduct-Hindering Movement.

Another protester attempted to disarm an officer who was arresting the other two. He was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.

Police say someone tipped officers off about a group of protesters blocking off the parade route.and once they arrived on their bikes to move the protesters some began to resist.

The QPOC protesters are suspected to be part of Black Lives Matters and No Justice, No Pride movement

 

 

Homeland Security Investigates Facebook Terror Threat Against Columbus Pride

 

The Columbus Police Department and Homeland Security are looking into a Facebook post that called for the killing of LGBTQ people, ahead of this weekend’s Pride Festival. The post was made to a page dedicated to the event; the poster wrote, “I hope this event turns out like the Boston Marathon a few year’s (sic) back.” The post continues with, “All [LGBTQ people] should be killed or at least relocated.”

Thursday it was confirmed the poster was an employee of the Columbus City School district. The district responded to our inquiry by saying, “We have also been made aware of his inappropriate comments and are working to address the situation.” There has been no word on what disciplinary action has or will be taken; the employee appears to have used a personal Facebook account to make the comment. Columbus Police say they are looking into the post, and have informed Homeland Security which is now also getting involved. –  via NBC News 

Chris Dodds, 48, who’s Facebook page was extremely alt-right and white supremacist leaning has since been removed by either Facebook or Dodds himself.  

Dodd is a garage assistant supervisor who has worked for the school district since 2004.

Columbus City Schools is working  on his termination

“Columbus City Schools values and celebrates its diversity. Please know that we are working with authorities to address this matter and his actions. We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” said Scott Varner, a spokesman for the school district. “We are currently working toward Mr. Dodds’ termination.”

The school district does have a policy on free speech in non-instructional settings that states, “The professional staff member’s expression must be balanced against the interests of this District. The following guidelines are adopted … to avoid situations in which the professional staff member’s expression could conflict with the District’s interests.

More than 400 teachers, staff, students plan to march in Saturday’s Columbus Pride Parade to counter Dodds hate.

Equality Ohio Director Resigns Quietly After Menacing and Disorderly Conduct Arrest Scandal

Equality Ohio Executive director Ed Mullen has “resigned” after being arrested on the night of Columbus, Pride for Menacing and Disorderly Conduct.

In a joint statement quietly sent out by the Equality Ohio Board yesterday:

Yesterday, Equality Ohio accepted the resignation of Ed Mullen, our Executive Director, effective June 29. Since he joined our staff in January 2011, Ed brought tremendous vitality and keen legal insights to our organization, stabilized our operations and financial support, and led the development of a nationally recognized strategic plan. The boards of Equality Ohio owe a debt of gratitude to Ed for his leadership and we wish him the very best in all his future endeavors

Leadership transition planning is underway. The Equality Ohio boards will appoint an Interim Executive Director very soon and charter a national search to find a new leader who will continue the tremendous gains which have been made in the last year.

Mullen was arrested on  the evening of Columbus Pride, June 16th  when police were called to a disturbance at 231 Buttles Avenue.  Upon arrival Mullen was arguing with the victim and after Columbus Police questioned Mullen the became wary of the answers that they were being given by him,  including the fact that Mullen stated that “he was from Chicago and was in town temporarily”.  Columbus Police decided at that point to take Mullen downtown for further questioning at which point Mullen’s became irrate and turned to the victim calling him a “fucking asshole” and threatening him and asying that “the war was on”.  At that point Mullen was taken into custody, held in jail overnight and later released on his own recognizance pending a pretrial.  Mullen was also issued a  Court Order that reads  ”No further acts of violence as a condition of bond,” and was ordered stay away from the prosecutor’s witness.

It is unclear at this time if alcohol was involved.

Mullen an attorney himself,  will be represented by a public defender and his trial is set for June 28th, 2012.

In a brief statement with WBNS in Columbus  Equality Ohio glosses over Mullens resignation and suggest Mullen was a leader in the marriage equality effort when Mullen himself backed out of the orignal Ohio Freedom To Marry Initiative to take a much slower course.

Equality Ohio has been plagued with many problems over the past years including a revolving door where Executive Directors are concerned having 4 different ED’s in the past 6 years and lack of focus and support from the LGBT communities of Ohio