Annapolis Protest Arrests: Charges Dropped For 7 Arrested At State House
ANNAPOLIS, MD - A judge dismissed all the charges against seven protesters who were arrested in Annapolis this spring, a press release said last week.
The demonstrators were arrested on April 7 while rallying with CASA, an immigrant rights group.
The activists were holding a banner that said "Healthcare is a human right." Their lengthy sign blocked the steps to the Maryland State House on one of the final days of the legislative session. More than 100 people participated in the demonstration, but only a handful actually blocked the steps.
Video from the scene showed protesters yelling a call-and-response of "What do we want? ... "Health care for all" and "When do we want it? ... Now."
CASA was pushing for "a bill that would have expanded health care access for undocumented immigrants," Maryland Matters reported.
Maryland Matters said the bill passed the House but died in a Senate committee.
“The action in April exemplified the first amendment right to peacefully assemble and protest, and that was affirmed today when the charges were dismissed,” CASA Legal Director Ama Frimpong-Houser said in a Wednesday press release. “Members of our community are dying and suffering because they do not have access to healthcare, and legislators have the power to change this. We have every right to raise awareness of and amplify this issue in an impactful way that is seen and heard by all who have the power to pass the bill. This is what we were doing in front of the State House. CASA will do all it can to ensure healthcare is a human right that is honored in this state.”
CASA said Emely Deleon, a 22-year-old organizer for Baltimore City, was one of the activists arrested.
Deleon said she lost her father, who didn't have health insurance, to COVID-19.
“My family thought we had escaped the worst of the pandemic, but it caught up to us last year: My dad Edgar was only 49 years old when he lost his life to COVID,” Deleon said in an April press release. “My birthday is in December, and that’s the same month my dad got sick. I risk arrest for him and Marylanders like him who don’t have health insurance. I honor my dad with this sacrifice.”
CASA said its legal director was ready to fight the charges alongside pro bono attorneys Raquel Smith, Kimberly Seabright, Vernon Brownlee, Michael Stark, Omid Azari and Hassan Ahmed.
Annapolis District Court Judge Danielle Mosley instead dismissed all charges against the arrested demonstrators last Tuesday at the request of the state's attorney's office, CASA said.
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