Eleven of the 12 protesters who were arrested at Hartford’s action that blocked the Broad St. I-84 on-ramp on Thursday went to Hartford Community Court this morning.
The protesters (the 12th could not be in court today and will appear later) were charged with disorderly conduct in violation of Section 53a-182 of Connecticut law. Before they could agree to be arrested, the dozen went through training to know what to expect, said Tom Swan, who was among those arrested. He said 40 more people were anxious to volunteer to be arrested, but they hadn’t been trained, and it was important this go smoothly.
This morning, the protesters were given one day of community service apiece. They will return to court on Dec. 9 to find out what that service might entail.
Community court was started in 1998 in no small part because of the involvement of Judge Raymond Norko, who is known for his creative community service orders, like sending people to shovel the snow from the sidewalks and porches of people who can’t shovel for themselves, or sending people to follow parades and clean up after horses.
In his chambers this morning, Judge Norko told me he would consider sending them to the Occupy Hartford encampment to do clean-up — though the site at Broad and Farmington is pretty clean already.
Thursday’s action was not an Occupy Hartford event per se, though members of the Occupy movement were there. It was, instead, sponsored by the Connecticut Action Alliance for a Fair Economy.
Over all, from the police involvement to community court, one of the arrested protesters, Daniel I. Medress, of SEIU, said everyone had been extremely professional and courteous. Hartford is emphatically not Oakland.