The Black Lives Matter protesters who shut down Interstate 95 during rush hour in Richmond, Virginia back in July were sentenced to spend five days in jail.
On the east coast, Interstate 95 is the main highway that extends from Maine to Florida and Richmond sees tens of thousands of cars go through it daily on I-95.
In July, 13 Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested for protesting on the highway, shutting I-95 down for more than an hour.
Protester Bethany Coston says organizers from Charlottesville planned the protest then Richmonders decide to join in because of it’s importance.
Coston said organizers arrived in multiple caravanning vehicles and slowed for half a mile, with flashers on, before stopping completely.
At that point, they exited the vehicles and stood in front of two lines of cars to shut down the highway.
When asked if protesting on the interstate was a safety issue they said it was a “small inconvenience to be reminded that racism is very real and very real here.”
All of the protesters pled guilty to charges of “obstructing free passage of others,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and faced up to one year in jail and a $2500 fine.
By accepting the plea deal, the five-day sentence seems rather light. However, Richmond Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Davis Powell stated it was an “appropriate punishment.”
Powell said in an interview afterward that the defendants’ behavior was “rather irresponsible,” adding that while demonstrators have the right to protest peacefully, “stopping rush-hour traffic is an entirely different thing. … We thought that warranted punishment.”
One of the odd facts about this case that seems to be going unnoticed is the fact that, for a Black Lives Matters protest, not one of the Black Lives Matters protesters are black. Not a single one.
Click here for individual mug shots.
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