15 Arrested During Sit-In at Sen. Portman’s Office
After a morning of peaceful sit-ins on the first floor of Sen. Rob Portman’s office building, Columbus police officers began forcibly removing disabled activists from their wheelchairs with sudden levels of force and aggression.
Officers policing Portman’s 37 W. Broad St. office resorted to force 3 p.m. Friday, minutes after claiming the activists were blocking EMT’s from providing medical assistance to someone elsewhere in the building. But this claim directly conflicted with the statement officers gave to the three activists occupying Portman’s office upstairs, who were told officials of Huntington Bank had chosen to put the property on lockdown.
Police then arrested 15 leaders from National ADAPT, a disability rights group that came from across the country to sit in at Portman’s Columbus and represent those whose lives are at risk under the Republican healthcare bill.
“We cannot forget why these protesters were there,” said National ADAPT in a Facebook post. “Disabled people will die without Medicaid. In Ohio, people are being arrested instead of being heard by Senator Portman.”
The action, which was part of a national demonstration consisting of 28 other sit-ins around the country, began Thursday at noon, with some activists spending the night in Portman’s office. Throughout the entire action, protesters were consistently denied communication with Portman and received no word as to how he plans to vote on the bill.
The arrested activists, who are being charged with criminal trespassing, were then transported to Jackson Pike Correctional Facility and the Franklin County Jail. As of Saturday morning, all had been released.
Disclaimer: Madeline Stocker currently works as the Communications Coordinator for Yes We Can Columbus and was one of the activists occupying Portman’s upstairs office.