Six Black Lives Matter protesters enter pleas of not guilty
PORTLAND, Maine — Several Black Lives Matter protesters arrested in Portland who were scheduled to appear in court Thursday have waived their right to an arraignment hearing.
Eighteen people were arrested during the July protest. Police charged each protester with one count of obstructing a public way.
The court docket lists six protesters. Court officials said they’re not appearing Thursday. They all entered not guilty pleas.
Protesters who identified themselves as being part of the Black Lives Matter movement stood on Commercial Street in the city’s Old Port to protest police in the wake of the recent deaths of black people across the country at the hands of police.
The group blocked traffic on Commercial Street, and eventually protesters surrounded a car driven by a man trying to make his way out of the area. Several protesters ended up hitting and kicking the vehicle. Not long after that police moved in to make arrests.
All of the protesters are out on bail. Since the demonstration, multiple city leaders have praised Portland police for the way they handled the situation. However, several protesters are claiming officers were overly aggressive.
Cumberland County court officials said the plan was to have all of the protesters appear over the course of two different dates. However, given what occurred Thursday with the protesters waiving their right to arraignment and entering not guilty pleas, the same could happen next week with the remaining protesters.