Black Lives Matter protesters sentenced to 5 days in jail for blocking traffic on I-95

Photo courtesy Robert Goodlatte
Photo courtesy Robert Goodlatte

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Black Lives Matter protesters arrested in July for illegally blocking traffic on Interstate 95 were sentenced in court Monday afternoon.

All thirteen protesters pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 5 days in jail:

  • Anthony D. Beck, 24, of Weed, Calif.;
  • Nina B. Cohen, 49, of State College, Pa.;
  • Donna L. Gasapo, 42, of Charlottesville;
  • Julia Griffin, 21, of Sparks Glencoe, Md.;
  • Angelica S. Demarco Jaffe, 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y.;
  • Katherine M. Martin, 30, of Alpharetta, Ga.;
  • Sapphyre K. Miria, 37, of Buchanan;
  • Luis A. Oyola, 26, of Charlottesville;
  • Frances Richards, 61, of Charlottesville;
  • Brandon J. Taylor, 21, of Hampton, N.J.;
  • Evan S. Viglietta, 39, of Charlottesville;
  • Ryan L. Whitcomb, 27, of Charlottesville; and
  • Whitney Renee Whiting, 32, of Richmond.

Back in July, a group of nearly 20 protesters briefly occupied all southbound travel lanes at mile marker 76.5 near the Belvidere exit, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Officials said 13 of the protesters refused to exit the interstate and were charged with being pedestrians on a highway and for impeding the flow of traffic. They were placed under arrest and transported to Richmond City Jail.

Organizers for the interstate demonstration said a group of white and non-black people of color shut down traffic near the Jackson Ward exit to ’emphasize the crisis faced by black trans women and black women in Virginia, especially at the hands of the police.’

Organizers also said in a release statement “non-black Virginians need to recognize that Richmond and Virginia were built by enslaved black laborers, and that systematic violence lives on today in our state’s prisons. With such a crisis at hand, we cannot let business go on as usual.”

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