5 Arrested For Blocking Road During Women's Rally In Chattanooga

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Five people were arrested during a Women's Rally in Chattanooga on Saturday.

They were charged with obstructing a highway.

They included Virginia Marie Moss, 57, of 981 Fairmount Ave. and Alaina Kailyn Cobb, 32, of 3615 Highland Terrace Dr.

Also arrested was William Boyd Nix, 49, of 901 Siskin Dr. and Joel Ryan Willis, 52, of 5700 Roper St., East Ridge.

Jean-Marie Lawrence, who was in charge of the event, said the organizers had planned only a rally and not a march because of the cost. She said it would have cost around $5,000 to pay for police officers and other charges.

She said those taking part were told that a march would not be sanctioned and that traffic laws should be obeyed.

She said the city last year provided funding assistance for the march, but said it could not help this year. 

Ms. Lawrence is confined to a wheelchair and uses a respirator so she was unable to attend during the rainy day.

Chattanooga Police said those charged refused to move out of the roadway that was open to vehicle traffic. The arrests were made near the intersection of Market Street and First Street.
Police said, "All arrested were participating in the Chattanooga Women's March and posed a danger to themselves, other pedestrians, drivers, and police who were in the area."  
"The organizers of the Chattanooga Women's March stated that the 2019 event would be a rally in the park only and would not be doing the march portion of the event. The organizers did not obtain a permit to march. Therefore the roads, including Market Street, remained open to vehicles and when marchers entered the roadway. Marchers were given multiple verbal commands by CPD Officers to continue their march on the sidewalk. The arrested individuals refused or ignored officer's safety directions as they walked along the entire length of the Market Street Bridge. Once they exited the bridge, police were forced to remove some of the individuals from the roadway and place them under arrest. At that time, others who were previously non-compliant moved to the sidewalks and observed designated traffic signals." 

Police Chief David Roddy said, "Chattanooga Police Officers were forced to take action in order to prevent anyone from being injured or worse today. The Chattanooga Police Department supports community members who stand for things they care about, but it needs to be done in a way that does not pose a significant safety risk to the participants and others in and traveling through the area."

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