Last week, Congressional Black Caucus chair Joyce Beatty (D-OH) was arrested along with eight others for storming into the Hart Senate office building to protest tighter voting restrictions.
“You can arrest me. You can’t stop me. You can’t silence me,” Beatty tweeted.
The four-term congresswoman was angered that Senate Republicans have refused to help pass the Democrat For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Beatty, along with the eight others, were charged with “obstructing or incommoding,” meaning they got in the way of people and inconvenienced them.
The Capitol Hill police described the July 15 event this way:
“This afternoon, nine people were arrested for demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds. At approximately 3:30pm, the United States Capitol Police responded to the Atrium in the Hart Senate Office Building for reports of illegal demonstration activity. After officers arrived on the scene, they warned the demonstrators three times to stop. Those who refused were arrested for D.C. Code §22-1307. Two males and seven females were transported to USCP Headquarters for processing.”
During the pre-staged event, Beatty and her companions shouted, demonstrated, made noise and flung their arms. The minor charges they face could result in a $50 fine. More importantly, they were immediately released and allowed to return home to their loved ones. They will not be monitored, risk losing their jobs, or need to worry about hard-time in jail.
An apt comparison between their treatment and those arrested during January 6th Capitol Hill protests does not exist.
Scores of Capitol Hill protesters continue to endure imprisonment, solitary confinement, no bail, GPS monitoring, home detention, curfews and limited access to the internet.
A lawyer for one Capitol Hill defendant said his client was “viciously and savagely” beaten by a guard while in a Washington D.C. jail.
Another lawyer described the treatment of Capitol Hill defendants to “Guantanamo Bay.”
They are held in cells the “size of a walk-in closet” for up to 24 hours a day and treated like “domestic terrorists” by jail guards, said lawyer Joseph McBride.
Guards have told Capitol Hill defendants “the world hates them,” “they’ll be forgotten,” and “they’ll spend the rest of their lives in here,” McBride said.
Congresswoman Beatty, at worse, will only have suffered the aggravation of being “zip-tied,” momentarily delayed, and the financial loss of ten trips to Starbucks.
No wonder she has promised to return.
“Be assured that this is just the beginning. This is Our Power, Our Message,” she said.