Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unite Here! Protest Ends in 41 Arrests

Minority Leader of the City-County Council Joanne Sanders (D-At Large) was one of approximately 24 people arrested by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in connection with the Unite Here! protest. The protest started on the south side of the State House, then marched over to the Hyatt Hotel on Maryland Street, and protested on the sidewalk closest to the Hyatt. The protest was part of a country wide effort to get unions into the Hyatt Hotel. Protest organizers told me they expected several arrests.

The protesters formed three groups: two groups standing on either side, with two dozen people sitting down in the middle. Joanne Sanders, along with a Catholic priest and several of the protest's organizers, were among those sittings, and subsequently arrested.

You can follow a blow-by-blow account of the protest at my Twitter page. Of note is that José Evans (D-District 1, and also a Mayoral candidate) and Dane Mahern (D-District 19) were also present at the protest. I estimated the protesters to have about 50 among them, including a few young children. If charges are filed against those that are arrested, I'll be sure to update the story.

And on a selfish note, I'm fairly certain this is the first story on the protest after it occurred, as well as my Tweet reporting Joanne Sanders' arrest.

UPDATE: WTHR's Twitter page said 40 were arrested. I'm guessing their 40 is more accurate and my estimation of the crowd was really off. A lot of people showed up in the last few minutes before the demonstration began.

UPDATE II: WTHR's story says 41 arrested, with most being issued summons while eight were jailed.

On another note, I noticed The Indianapolis Star simply changed the headline from their pre-protest story to reflect the number of arrests. The article doesn't say anything about the actual protest, because it was written before it happened. Hopefully, that'll be corrected soon. But still, sloppy on their part.

UPDATE III: WISH-TV is reporting that the 31 being issued summons lived outside of the seven counties surrounding Marion County. The others were jailed.

UPDATE IV: Joanne Sanders responded to my e-mail. She said there were no formal charges at this time. It doesn't surprise me. Several years ago, my editor at the time along with several dozen people were ticketed at the Emerson Theater for loitering. Those ticketed, mostly those under 21, were just stepping out for a breath of fresh air in between sets of the multiple bands performing. The tickets were later dropped. I'll try to dig up the article my editor wrote if I can find it (several news organizations also reported on the ticketing).


  1. Thanks, Jon. I've been a journalist since I was 15, and believe I can still be objective to cover an event. The fact that several City-Council reps were there, including the minority leader and a mayoral candidate, along with a lot of young people actually DOING something, made it a story I wanted to cover.

  2. Good job ISTUD! Sanders arrested, huh? I knew about the protest, but didn't think she'd get thrown in the clink.

  3. His Twitter account was active a few hours ago, so I doubt it. I believe he was one of the standing protesters.

  4. I wonder what they expect to achieve? Attention? Are there not better ways to attract attention to a cause? People toss barbs at the Concerned Clergy, but at least they can voice their concern without getting arrested - and, I might add, without consuming tax dollars and deferring police from more pressing matters.

    How is it they sit on the sidewalk and 'impede' flow but we have people sitting on nearly every street corner every day rattling a cup, often in a spot where they could easily trip an unobservant pedestrian?

  5. Attention is exactly it, DI. They even said so as much.

    I wouldn't wash the Concerned Clergy's hands so quickly. At least two other preachers were there, besides the Catholic priest I mentioned. Both spoke at the rally when it began at the State House.

    But you're spot on on the last paragraph, something I intend to hit on in my op-ed piece. An IMPD officer told me "there's no law against shaking a cup" downtown and told me they can only do something against "aggressive" panhandlers.

  6. Evans had a business meeting at 300 East.He could not be bothered by community involvement.


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