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Home » Criminal Law » Ben and Jerry Head to Protest, Promptly Arrested

Ben and Jerry Head to Protest, Promptly Arrested

Ben and Jerry eat their ice cream while getting arrestedJust in case you didn’t know: a bunch of people are headed to Washington D.C. to get arrested. If you’re interested, you can join them! Ben and Jerry did!

Do I mean the ice cream guys? Oh yeah. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were arrested at the United States Capitol building yesterday for participating in a mass protest that’s been filling the city’s jails all week. So far, a reported 300-ish people have been taken into custody just on Monday — Ben and Jerry are just drops in the bucket. Since April 11, there have been about 1,240.

“Democracy Awakening”

The movement worked closely with “Democracy Spring,” which has been gathering supporters over the past few weeks to protest… well, basically to protest the entire political process. They marched from Philadelphia to the U.S. Capitol to cause a righteous ruckus and send a message.

On their website, Democracy Spring lists a series of grievances, including education, racial justice, health care, climate change, workers’ rights, immigration, and you know, just overall peace. This particular protest, the one Ben and Jerry got arrested for, is called “Democracy Awakening.” Both Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening are based in the belief that the United States political process is rigged to suppress the voice of the people.

Which is awesome.

For their part, Ben and Jerry’s website explains everything in a post called “Why Ben and Jerry Just Got Arrested.” Probably they expected some fans, many of whom are children and parents of children, to be concerned over their favorite ice cream brand’s affiliations with criminal activity. The post defends Ben and Jerry, highlighting their activist history and general dedication to social justice — hopefully enough to satisfy any overbearing parents.

Awakening Democracy is Illegal!

Protests happen all the time. Why did Ben and Jerry, and all those other people, get arrested for this one?

This statement from United States Capitol Police shines some light on the particular crime these guys are committing:

“Today on the East Front Rotunda Steps of the U.S. Capitol, United States Capitol Police (USCP) arrested approximately 300 individuals for unlawful demonstration activities. The arrestees were charged under D.C. Code § 22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding. They were processed on the scene and released.”

“Hey, protesters! You’re blocking that giant staircase!” This might be a fair translation of why they were arrested. And this police response is far from unreasonable. According to most reports, police have been treating the protesters kindly. Most large-scale protests negotiate a space in which to protest prior to assembling, but this is a deliberate act of civil disobedience — Ben, Jerry, and all the rest of these people are trying to get arrested to send a message. To them, it’s worth a $50 fine.

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases related to activism and freedom of speech. Not all circumstances are as tension-free as these Democracy Awakening protests, and offenders are often saddled with more than a measly little fine. To ensure a high probability of a satisfactory resolution, the best course of action is always to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

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