Mayor, Councilmembers Arrested; What's Next?
||Greater Greater Washington
||Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Mayor Gray, Kwame Brown, Tommy Wells, Muriel Bowser, Yvette Alexander, Sekou Biddle and Michael Brown were arrested by Capitol Police along with several other activists today, protesting Congress' abusing their power to step on DC's rights to make its own governance decisions.
According to various press reports and tweets they will be charged with misdemeanor "unlawful assembly," which comes with a $50 fine. The DC Office of the Attorney General would have to prosecute, which raises the interesting question of whether they can simply use their prosecutorial discretion to ignore the charge.
Vincent Orange, who along with Biddle is considered the front-runner for the April 26 special election, attended but didn't join in the civil disobedience. Dorothy Douglas moved to the curb when asked by the police.
Several people asked, where was Eleanor Holmes Norton? And where were the DC Republicans?
In one of my favorite tweets not directly about the incident, Wells' chief of staff, Charles Allen, wrote: "It's a walkable community. Just walked from protest site to the jail cell. #dcfightsback"
Several people have asked, what's next? How about again tomorrow?
Markus Batchelor, recently Youth Mayor of DC, is looking into getting a youth protest together for next week, when DCPS is on break.
The DC government also provides a lot of assistance to the feds, like MPD clearing streets for motorcades or special federal events. Should they stop doing this? Are there ways the DC government can or should itself be civilly disobedient?
Many DC residents are cheering their leaders today. Those that showed up and got arrested took a great step for DC rights today. But we can't stop here.
Residents and elected officials alike have to keep this energy going, whether it's with more protests or other acts that draw attention to DC's cause. More people may need to get arrested.
And what can make this issue get more attention far outside the Beltway?