Black LGBTQ activists convicted on six of eight charges for Columbus Pride protests
Earlier this week, a jury convicted three Black LGBTQ protesters, who are part of a group called the Black Pride 4, in connection with a June 2017 Columbus Pride parade. According to Columbus Alive, the protesters stood in the street to disrupt the Columbus Pride parade. They hoped to “to raise awareness about the violence against and erasure of black and brown queer and trans people,” and related issues.
Wriply Bennet was convicted of disorderly conduct, failure to comply with a police officer’s orders and resisting arrest. Ashley Braxton was convicted of disorderly conduct and failure to comply. Kendall Denton was convicted of disorderly conduct.
The fourth protester’s charges, while linked with his fellow protesters, are even more serious. Deandre Miles faces a felony charge of aggravated robbery and will have a separate trial. Miles is accused of reaching for a police officer’s gun mid-incident.
The conviction drew outrage from activists around the country who noted that Pride is supposed to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which were non-peaceful protests started by Black and Brown trans women against state violence. “There would be no [Pride] parades w/out brave protests, resistance & leadership of #LGBT POC (people of color),” Piper Kerman, Columbus native and author of Orange is the New Black wrote on Twitter.
Sentencing is expected in the next few weeks. Supporters can contribute to a legal defense fund established for the Black Pride 4 here.