Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsMarylandPoliticsMaryland Politics blog

Protesters object to ban of activist from City Hall

ActivismStephanie Rawlings-BlakeJustice SystemRob Morris

Holding cut-outs of activist Kim Trueheart's face, protesters objected at Wednesday morning's Board of Estimates meeting to her ban from City Hall.

"I was with Kim Trueheart a week ago when she was arrested trying to attend this very meeting," fellow activist Mike McGuire said. "As anyone who has been around City Hall knows, Kim is quite a fixture. With her banning from City Hall, and her subsequent arrest, she couldn't be here. We wanted to make sure she was present at least in spirit."

Trueheart, a vocal critic of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration, was arrested and jailed a week ago. Trueheart, 55, faces charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and failing to obey an officer's command. Police officers assigned to City Hall told Trueheart on Wednesday that she'd been banned from the building for previous "disorderly" behavior.

Rawlings-Blake said the ban "was a decision that the police department made."

"If it were up to me, the charges would have been dropped," she said. 

Ryan O'Doherty, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said in an email that the mayor "wasn’t in the building when the incident occurred." 

"The Police use their discretion to ensure a safe environment for city workers, public officials and citizens," he wrote. "The Mayor has always said City Hall is the people’s building and everyone is welcome to attend public meetings. In this case, she thinks the charges should be dropped, but that’s not her call because this was a police matter. Regarding the protest today, everyone appreciated that they respectful and not disruptive, that’s all we can ask for.

At District Court Wednesday morning, Trueheart rejected a deal that would have put her charges on an inactive docket and a judge ordered the ban lifted.

Administration and police officials have not identified who had ordered the officers to prevent Trueheart from entering, but said it was not the mayor's doing. Top police officials said they were investigating whether such a ban was legal.

Trueheart frequently speaks out at government and education meetings in Baltimore. She regularly attends sessions of the City Council, Board of Estimates and school board, and testifies on wide-ranging subjects.

According to the police report, Trueheart was asked Jan. 16 not to come back to City Hall by Lt. Rob Morris after she disrupted a Rawlings-Blake news conference, though she was not arrested or charged with a crime. On Wednesday, "Ms. Trueheart refused to leave the location when asked several times to and warned," Officer Samuel Thomas wrote in his report. "Ms. Trueheart was then placed under arrest."

"It's questionable on who's authority she was banned from City Hall," McGuire said Wednesday. "What manner of redress does a citizen have?" 

After the judge's order, Trueheart attended at 10:30 a.m. mayoral news conference. The event went off without incident.

Baltimore Sun reporters Eric Cox and Ian Duncan contributed to this post.

Luke.Broadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
ActivismStephanie Rawlings-BlakeJustice SystemRob Morris
  • Complete Coverage: Baltimore Sun Poll 2014
    Complete Coverage: Baltimore Sun Poll 2014

    OpinionWorks of Annapolis conducted the poll for The Baltimore Sun. See how Maryland voters responded when asked about the gubernatorial and presidential races, as well as issues facing state lawmakers.

  • Maryland's 2014 candidates for governor
    Maryland's 2014 candidates for governor

    The 2014 campaign for Maryland governor is well under way, with contested primary races in both the Democratic and Republican parties. The primary election is June 24. Candidates include three Democrats and four Republicans. -- Michael Dresser

  • General Assembly 2014 session [Pictures]
    General Assembly 2014 session [Pictures]
  • Baltimore City mayors through the years
    Baltimore City mayors through the years

    Since its founding in 1797, Baltimore has had 57 mayors. Between 1919 and the present, 13 have occupied the mayoral chair at City Hall. Here are some facts about those mayors, along with some of their major accomplishments. --Frederick N. Rasmussen Also see: Maryland governors through the...

  • Top-paid lobbyists in Maryland for 2011
    Top-paid lobbyists in Maryland for 2011

    Eight Maryland lobbyists got more than $1 million in billing compensation, as companies spent heavily trying to promote their agendas in Annapolis. Lobbyists have to report their activities, and a listing is generated each time an advocate picks up an active client. In this gallery, you can...

  • Top-lobbying Maryland companies in 2011
    Top-lobbying Maryland companies in 2011

    Companies and organizations spent big money on lobbyists last year, looking for help in convincing the state government to act in their interests. Here are some of the biggest spenders, according to a Maryland State Ethics Commission report covering the period between Nov. 1, 2010 and Oct....

Comments
Loading