Four Arrested During Protest at PRIDE Parade
Protestors at the annual PRIDE Parade and Festival are not an uncommon sight, and are typically present to showcase anti-LGBTQ sentiment. But one group today took to the street to protest for different reasons, and the event resulted in police intervention and the arrest of four protestors.
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.”
“When these activists interrupted the parade to state their claim, they were maced, some were detained—including two trans and gnc [gender nonconforming] activists, and corporate shills of pride cheered for the police,” the post continued. “This precisely is the reason why we fight police brutality and any wrong done onto the LGBT community. Our movement has a long way to go.”
A three-and-a-half minute video posted of the incident indicates that it happened very quickly, resulting in some confusion from onlookers. Columbus resident Meghan Mathews, who was watching the parade nearby when the demonstration began, reported that it appeared to be a blockade to protest the parade itself.
“People who cheered when this altercation was over were cheering because the parade was able to continue,” she stated on Facebook. “Now it’s coming out that this was gay and trans POC protesting the lack of representation/inclusivity in pride. Problem was no one watching knew that. The message is absolutely on point, this wasn’t effective though.”
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 reported that four officers were injured in the altercation.
“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 Aggravated Robbery, Resisting Arrest-Causing Harm to a Police Officer, Fail to Comply with a Police Officers Order or Signal to Disorderly Conduct-Hindering Movement. Overall everyone else had a great day.”
A youcaring.com crowdfunding campaign was set up Molly Shea to provide funds to the four arrested individuals — Wriply Bennett, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton, and Deandre Miles — to assist with bail and/or legal needs.
This story is developing and additional information will be updated once made available. Check back for updates.