Traf­fic-block­ing pro­tester gets pro­ba­tion

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nation&world - By John Futty jfutty@ dis­patch. com @ john­futty

An Athens County man who blocked a Colum­bus in­ter­sec­tion by chain­ing him­self to the un­der­side of a mini­van to protest the Dakota Ac­cess pipe­line was placed on pro­ba­tion Thurs­day af­ter plead­ing guilty to a mis­de­meanor charge.

Peter Gib­bons- Ballew, 34, of Mill­field, pleaded guilty in Franklin County Mu­nic­i­pal Court to in­duc­ing panic. Mis­de­meanor charges of dis­or­derly con­duct and fail­ure to com­ply with an of­fi­cer were dis­missed as part of the plea agree­ment.

Judge Eileen Pa­ley fined him $250, placed him on non- re­port­ing pro­ba­tion for 18 months and or­dered him to com­plete 40 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

De­fense at­tor­ney Con­stance Gadell-New­ton said her client has agreed to vol­un­teer with the Peo­ple’s Jus­tice League, a non­profit so­cial- jus­tice or­ga­ni­za­tion in south­east Ohio, where he al­ready has com­pleted 20 hours.

If he vi­o­lates pro­ba­tion, he could be sent to jail for six months.

As­sis­tant City At­tor­ney Is­sac Rin­sky said the sen­tence was rec­om­mended by both sides as part of the agree­ment.

Gib­bons-Ballew was part of a group of pro­tes­tors Nov. 15 at the in­ter­sec­tion of East Broad and 3rd streets. His ac­tions blocked the Down­town in­ter­sec­tion for more than an hour in the mid­dle of the work­day be­fore Colum­bus fire­fight­ers used ex­trac­tion tools to re­move him.

Af­ter the hear­ing, Gib­bons-Ballew said they chose the in­ter­sec­tion be­cause of its po­si­tion be­tween the State­house and the Chase Bank build­ing. They wanted to draw at­ten­tion to the Ka­sich ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to send state troop­ers to North Dakota to deal with protests there and to the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that are fund­ing the pipe­line.

“No sin­gle ac­tion will put a stop to the pipe­line, but I’m part of some­thing much larger,” he said. “Each thing we do shows that there are peo­ple all over the county and all over the world who are in sol­i­dar­ity with those who op­pose the pipe­line.”


Peter Gib­bons-Ballew was ar­rested on Nov. 15 af­ter chain­ing him­self to the un­der­side of a mini­van that blocked the in­ter­sec­tion at 3rd and East Broad streets.

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