On Tuesday, a judge in Boston Municipal Court refused to dismiss charges against multiple people arrested at Saturday’s so-called “Straight Pride” parade. He scheduled pretrial hearings for the defendants, one of whom was held without bail.
Police arrested 36 people, ages 15 to 63. Several of these people are still waiting to appear in court. About 1,000 people showed up to protest the parade Saturday, greatly outnumbering those attending the event itself.
Judge Thomas Horgan reportedly told three of the protesters, who were accused of assault and battery on police, to “stay out of Boston.” They pleaded not guilty.
An attorney asked if his client could visit relatives in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.
Horgan said: “They’re going to have to go visit him.”
Joshua Abrams, one of the protesters, said: “multiple times I asked why I was arrested, he said ‘for calling me a pig.’ Well, that’s my First Amendment right to do so.”
Essex District Attorney Rachael Rollins said that the protesters are constitutionally protected. “By compelling arraignment in every case, the judge punished the exercise of individuals’ First Amendment right to protest,” she said.
Rollins added: “For those people now tangled in the criminal justice system for exercising their right to free speech—many of whom had no prior criminal record—I will use the legal process to remedy the judge’s overstepping of his role.”
Larry Calderone, the vice president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, said: “We couldn’t be happier at the moment with the judge that’s on the bench. We are here to make sure the DA prosecutes these offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”
Representative Ayanna Pressley defended the protesters. “People have the right to show up in the world exactly as they are,” she said. “Those are the values of Boston. Those peaceful protesters were simply there defending those values. I do not think they should have been arrested.”