Protestors Chained to Gates of Bristol County Jail Arrested
DARTMOUTH — A group of protestors that cemented themselves to the gates of the Bristol County House of Correction on Monday afternoon have been removed and are facing multiple charges.
The four protestors arrived outside of both the main entrance and a side entrance to the facility just after 3:00 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Jonathan Darling. The four were a part of a larger group of protestors, who gathered across the street from the jail yelling obscenities at deputies and prison staff.
“Sometime between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. we had two protestors set up a vertical structure at our main entrance, one structure on the entrance way in and one on the entrance way out. They hoisted themselves up there and refused to come down,” Darling explained. “As that was going on two others came over to a side entrance of our facility and they cemented themselves to a tire filled with cement and chained themselves to the gate.”
Organizers of the group of protestors, who identify themselves as the Fang Collective, say they are protesting the jail itself as well as “the existence of ICE.”
“We’re protesting the entire facility and also the existence of ICE,” explained an organizer of the protest, known simply as August. “In particular we’re protesting at this facility because Bristol County has what’s called a 287G Agreement with ICE, which essentially allows police officers and employees to act as immigration officers.”
August says the Fang Collective defines itself as “a grassroots organization training community members to participate in direct action for their own liberation, fighting against oppression and for a sustainable future.”
Darling says that the two protestors who hoisted themselves on top of a structure at the main entrance were arrested first. The other two had placed their hands inside of PVC pipe, which they then cemented to a tire that they also filled with cement and chained to the gate.
“We had to call the Dartmouth Fire Department and we also got help from Dartmouth Police and paramedics. It took a couple of hours for the Dartmouth Fire Department to drill through the concrete to free them without harming them,” said Darling. “The Dartmouth Fire Department did a great job. They chipped away until they could be removed safely. They weren’t resisting but they weren’t happy about it. Some of them refused to stand up, they refused to follow instructions. They refused to answer any of the questions we had for them.”
It’s not clear if the group was protesting Bristol County Sheriff’s visit to Washington D.C. on Monday to join six other sheriffs from across the country to honor ICE agents and discuss immigration reform. Darling says that Sheriff Hodgson is still in Washington, but has been made aware of the situation.
“He’s in Washington right now. He’s not happy. He does not accept unlawful behavior and we all stand by that,” Darling said. “This absolutely absurd that you would come here and disturb the peace like that, hold up traffic on Faunce Corner Road, block emergency vehicles that have to come here. It’s out of control and the protestors who were arrested will be prosecuted.”
The four protestors, whose names have not been released, were removed from the facility and have been arrested. They are being booked at the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford and face charges of trespassing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.