Woodlawn Demonstrators Found Guilty Of Criminal Trespass

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 16, 2012 2:30PM

Four protesters arrested as part of an April sit-in to fight the closure of a mental health clinic in Woodlawn were found guilty of criminal trespass Monday. Twenty-three people were arrested at the clinic after barricading themselves inside to protest citywide cuts for mental health funding. According to WBEZ, not all were charged while others settled with the city.

N’Dana Carter, a spokesperson for the Mental Health Movement, who organized the action, said “We gave the Mayor four thousand letters from constituents and people that had visited this city saying these clinics need to be kept open, so we will feel safer when we come in this city. He didn’t care.”

Cook Count Judge Peggy Chiampas said in her ruling the sit-in was not an appropriate “way to have a discussion” about the issue demonstrators brought forth. Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle, another demonstrator and activist with the group, said two protesters received six months supervision and the other two received one-year supervision, and fines totaled about $1,000.

“The judge and state’s attorney would’t let us get in anything about why we felt we had to occupy the clinic and very little at all about the issue of mental health cuts and violations of the human right to healthcare,” he said. “But, it was great to have so many supporters there. People’s spirits are high knowing that we continue to grow and that this struggle isn’t over,” he added.