Lone protester cuffed in front of City Hall
By JOSH RESNEK
Everett Leader’s Facebook site was inundated with visitors over the weekend responding to the news that a protester minding his own business was arrested in front of city hall for calling attention to corruption at city hall with handmade placards he placed on the wall abutting the city walk.
At the Everett Leader Facebook page, Everett residents expressed a wide variety of thoughts about the arrest, about what instigated the arrest, and what it says about the rights of Everett citizens to protest in front of city hall.
The Everett Police Department alleges that the man arrested lunged at or attacked the DPW employee “just trying to do his job” removing the man’s posters from the sidewalk.
There is no questioning the assertion by the police that such an act can lead to an arrest and often does.
“If he lunged at someone or so much as touched him, even with the flick of a finger, he can be legally charged with assault,” Attorney Joseph Resnek told the Leader Herald.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth are not whether or not the police had the right to arrest the man after he acted out.
It is whether or not the mayor and his staff at city hall can call the police and order that the police remove a protester claiming corruption at city hall from the public sidewalk and to instigate the arrest by ordering a DPW employee to remove the posters, which led to the man acting out and to his arrest.
In other words, are citizens allowed to protest in front of city hall peacefully, or do the mayor and his staff set the standard?
In addition, and this is more about truth than it is about justice, does the mayor and his staff have the right to instigate the arrest of a peaceful protester in front of city hall?
If this man was arrested, would a protester holding a Capone sign be ordered to leave or be arrested?
“What law was he in violation of prior to his alleged assault of a city employee? Why did they (the police) come at all if he was peacefully protesting?” asked Tracey Chance on the Everett Leader Facebook site.
Angel Chambers wrote: “Why didn’t Carlo go out and talk with the guy???? Discuss things with him? Peacefully. Nicely?????… He’s not professional and he’s (Carlo) is just a BULLY!!!!”
Cheryl Guevara posted this: “If it was stupid Black Like Me nothing would happen.”
Richard Bogosian wrote: “I wish they would do the same thing (arrest) the person who’s hanging up all the Suboxone signs around the city making the neighborhood look trashy.”
“Freedom of speech on a public sidewalk does not warrant an arrest,” posted Melanie Ann. “Also, he was not disturbing anyone at all by giving out flyers…!”
Steven Fitzgerald posted: “He did not attack anybody. The Everett Police act like an armed militia when instructed by the mayor…FACT!”
“Next thing you know you’ll be arrested for having a Capone sign on your front lawn,” posted Angel Chambers.
Teri-Ann Gaudreau wondered: “What is the full story given that freedom of speech is not an arrestable offense…”
Shawn Patrick Murphy posted: “He could sue them for viola- tion of his right to protest.”
“Government overreach,” posted Erika Laymance.
The fellow arrested by the EPD is the same fellow who set up his posters and protested in front of the FBI Building in Chelsea the week before.
No such confrontation to remove the posters and the protester from the front sidewalk of the FBI was initiated by the Chelsea Police Department or the FBI.
In an hour, the protester collected his signs and left without incident.