Wichita protest organizer arrested and released from jail

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The organizer of recent protests held in downtown Wichita over the last week has been released from the Sedgwick County Detention Center. This happened just hours after she turned herself in on August 2.

Gabrielle Griffie, executive director of Project Justice ICT, and another member of the group were arrested on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly.

This comes a day after the Wichita Police Department released a statement that they were investigating illegal protest activity that were happening in downtown Wichita.

“WPD is investigating issues of blocking traffic, causing disturbances, vandalizing property, aggravated assault with a firearm, and battery.  Charges will be forthcoming.”

Wichita Police Department – 8/1/2020

KSN News reached out to police for more details, but a spokesperson said the department would not give further comment.

Griffie turned herself in, as an organizer of the protest, but said aside from marching in the street, Project Justice ICT, did not do anything wrong.

“I was there set up to tear down every single day, not a single act of vandalism happened,” Griffie said. “Not a single act of graffiting, nobody slashed anybody’s tires, broke anybody’s windows, done anything like that. Nobody assaulted anybody with a firearm.”

The release from WPD said the department, “Has always supported individual’s right to demonstrate lawfully and has previously worked alongside other demonstration leaders to ensure their groups were able to share their views safely.  However, the individuals protesting the past few days refuse to demonstrate lawfully.”

Griffie said like the civil rights movement of the 1960s, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis led protests, their group marches in the street as a way show civil disobedience.

She said while she is glad to be out of jail, she still is unsure why she was arrested, saying police were at each of the protests they held.

“They were present at every single action and while all of these crimes were allegedly happening, they never once came down and checked out what was going on. They never once tried to investigate or prevent these alleged crimes from happening.”

As the executive director of Project Justice ICT, Griffie said she is feeling more inspired to continue their work in the Black Lives Matter movement.

WPD said in their statement that they will continue to monitor protests throughout the city, “Illegal activity will not be tolerated, and criminals will be arrested and held accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law.”

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