RACINE — The organizer of a Sunday protest was arrested on Main Street.
Organizer Kejuan Goldsmith led a protest that involved about 50 people who marched through downtown Racine to oppose Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that required all states to allow some access to abortion. After Friday’s ruling, abortion became illegal in Wisconsin.
The protest on Sunday, organized by Goldsmith and the group We are the agents of changewas the first in Racine to oppose Friday’s judgment.
Goldsmith said he was arrested around 4 p.m. and released from the Racine County Jail within hours. He said his bond was $600.
Goldsmith spoke to The Journal Times by phone Sunday evening.
He called the arrest “wrong” and “wrong”. He said he was charged with “obstructing justice and resisting arrest”.
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The protest began at 3 p.m. in Monument Square. Police arrived, Goldsmith said, “Because apparently I didn’t have a permit to demonstrate in the streets. That’s what they said at first.”
Goldsmith, who has participated in and led protests in the Racine area for several years, said he had never received a permit for a protest before and that this was the first time the police had been directly involved in a protest. demonstration he led.
Two videos of the arrest show a tense scene with protesters yelling at several officers, but no violence or active interference with officers.
Passers-by shouted “It’s not illegal!” and “No justice, no peace!” several times against the officers.
The arrest took place curbside on the southwest side of the intersection of Third Street and Main Street, with videos showing Goldsmith being handcuffed and being led away on foot by two officers from the Racine Police Department.
Goldsmith had moments before used a megaphone to lead chants of “What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like!”
Goldsmith said he was hiring an attorney and planned to fight any charges if formally filed.
The Racine Police Department did not immediately comment on the arrest.
“You don’t need a fucking permit to demonstrate,” Goldsmith said Sunday night.
Xavier Simmons, another Racine-based organizer who witnessed the arrest, said in a text to a reporter “They (the police) told him (Goldsmith) to get off the street. He got off the street and they still handcuffed him.”
According to the “Instructions and application for the planning of public events” of the City of Racine document“Demonstrations, protests and gatherings are authorized in the public domain without obtaining a Public Demonstration Permit, under the following conditions:
- The protest remains peaceful.
- Sound is not audible more than 50 feet from the source or on private property at the property line.
- Pedestrian/vehicular traffic is not interrupted.
- Streets and sidewalks are not blocked.
- Building entrances remain open.
- Public use of the park is not a restricted area.”
Protesters had briefly obstructed traffic at the intersection of Main Street and Fourth Street.
In recent years, even when Racine police have witnessed traffic obstructions during protests that, at least once in June 2021, have included the forced hijacking of a fire truck, arrests have not were immediately carried out.
Case High School graduate Goldsmith posted on Facebook after “You can arrest me. You can accuse me of false charges. But you’ll never shut me up. There’s no power like people power because people power doesn’t stop!”
According to the city’s public events document, booking Monument Square and Monument Square Drive would cost $320 for a city resident for the full day.
This story is developing. Expect updates on Monday.