The four protesters, Robert Blackwell Gibbs, Kevin Ksen, Julius Jones and Sonya Conner, are due back in court on July 9. They have each pleaded not guilty to one charge of disturbing the peace. They face a fine if found guilty of the misdemeanor.
The charges stem from a large demonstration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in which protestors locked arms in Kelley Square and refused to let traffic pass for more than four minutes.
In April, City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said the city had tried to reach an agreement with the protestors. The city offered to not file charges if the protesters promised not to block city streets in future protests. The group refused, with some saying the deal was meant to silence their voices.
William S. Coleman III filed an official petition with the City Council on Tuesday asking that all charges against the demonstrators be dropped “as an olive branch to diffuse tensions in our community regarding race and public protest.”
“There is an emotional a balloon in the city of Worcester that is about to burst,” Coleman said.
Coleman was referring to the dialogues on race, which he said were slow to start, but now that people have gotten comfortable with each other, real discussions are about to start.
About 280 people attended Monday’s meeting on education, he noted.
He was joined by Idella Hazard, who said if they were “her children, she would be proud of them.”
The protestors were “expressing their voice sand their freedom,” and while they “may have gotten a tiny bit rambunctious,” they caused no damage, nor harm, she said.
Hazard attributed the dialogues on race directly to the protest, saying the city “should be proud of them” and that they “should be honored, not criminalized.”
“The city of Worcester owes these young men. Let’s extend an olive branch,” she said.
Coleman said he sees beyond the label of protestors and demonstrators to the quality of people being charged. He sees a veteran, a poet, a college professor, a father, a youth worker and a community activist who works with labor, he said.
The racial tension in the city is such that “the bubble is ready to burst,” he added.
“You have the potential to make them martyrs, when you really don’t need to,” Coleman said, adding that dropping charges would not only save the taxpayers money, but “might be a nice way to diffuse some of (the racial) issues.
“Everybody has made their point and learned the lessons they had to learn,” Coleman said. “We know what happened, we get the point. Let’s move on.”
Ultimately, Mayor Joseph Petty said the council has no authority in the matter at his point and the request was filed.
Martyrs? Martyrs? Umm newsflash – martyrs die. That’s a pretty big part of being a martyr. If these four clowns are found guilty then they have to pay a fine. Which is apparently the same exact thing as the guillotine to these hippies.What is Billy Coleman smoking? Get me some of that good stuff pronto!!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – these are the fakest protesters in the history of the protest game. You know you did something illegal. That’s what made the whole thing appealing. You couldn’t get our attention from legal rallies because no one gives a shit what you have to say, so the only way you could get our attention was by breaking the law and taking away our freedoms. You KNEW that. That’s WHY you did it. Just own it, say your peace, and move on with your hippie lives.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing here. Ed Augustus offered them a get out of jail free card and they didn’t take it. All they had to do was pinky swear never to block traffic again and things would be all set. But they couldn’t do that, because they’re literally the most stubborn people on earth. They just don’t have it in them to compromise. They’re right. Everyone else is wrong. So they can’t give in.
I wonder if they realize that no one of any importance has their backs. Maybe Sarai Rivera, but that’s about it. They had a potential ally in Petty and Augustus, but they wouldn’t cop to their plea agreement so now they’ve burned that bridge too.
So who do they got left besides Old Man Gordy and the Sunshine Kid? Bill freaking Coleman. The guy who invented last place. Billy is running for City Council in November. It’s a semi-annual tradition like none other. He’s run before, finishing 8th in 2013:
9th in 2011:
11th out of 11 in 2007:
8th in 2005:
7th in 2003:
8th out of 8 in 2001:
9th in 1997:
11th in 1995:
and 8th in 1991:
Hasn’t even come close to winning yet. He’s like the Worcester version of Ralph Nader. Sure, some hippies will have his back, but ultimately he’s here for our amusement. The only thing more depressing than Bill Coleman’s finishes in City Council races is the fact that Jordan Levy was the top vote getter in 1991 with over 20,000 votes, and the top vote getter in 2013 couldn’t even get 9,000 votes.
But that’s only because up until this point people haven’t found a reason to vote. But now we’ve got property taxes through the roof (no pun intended), an incompetent moron running the schools, and a never ending threat of hippie blockades if we don’t give into their demands (whatever those demands are). So people ARE going to show up to vote in November, and they’re gonna vote the Turtleboy ticket, which will be announced next month.
So enjoy your last few months with your cronies in charge hippies. Because all you’ve got left is Bill Coleman. But hey, maybe 10th time’s a charm!!!