3 protesters at Pride parade get probation
Three of four protesters who disrupted last year’s Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade were sentenced to community service and probation Tuesday.
Kendall Denton, 26; Ashley Braxton, 27; and Wriply Bennet, 28; all of Columbus, also were fined and given suspended jail sentences following February convictions on charges stemming from the June 2017 protest.
The three, part of a group dubbed the “Black Pride 4,” were among protesters who stepped into the street to block the Columbus Pride parade, with hopes of raising “awareness about the violence against and erasure of black and brown queer and trans people,” among other concerns.
A fourth protester, Deandre Miles, was accused of reaching for an officer’s gun during the incident. That case is being handled separately.
Following a five- day trial, a jury convicted Bennet on counts of disorderly conduct, failure to comply and resisting arrest; Braxton for disorderly conduct and failure to comply; and Denton for disorderly conduct.
On Tuesday, Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Cynthia Ebner acknowledged letters submitted in support of the three, as well as their efforts to combat violence and discrimination in the community.
But, she added, “You did break the law, and with that there are consequences.”
Bennet and Braxton were fined $250 plus court costs, and Denton was fined $100, with $50 credited to each for the day they spent in jail.
Each was also placed on probation for two years and ordered to complete community service — Bennet with 80 hours, Braxton with 60 hours and Denton with 48 hours. Ebner said the three could write a letter after completing half of the service hours, and the court would consider terminating the remaining probation and service requirements.
Bennet and Denton declined to comment after Tuesday’s hearing, which was attended by more than two dozen supporters.