3 pro­test­ers at Pride pa­rade get pro­ba­tion

The Columbus Dispatch - - Metro&state - By Marc Ko­vac mko­vac@dis­patch.com @OhioCap­i­talBlog

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.

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