A pair of gun rights demonstrators claim the police explanation for their arrest on an Annapolis, Md. sidewalk Monday evening is "hogwash."
"They're tired of our criticism," said Jeff Hulbert of the Patriot Pickets. "They figure by arresting the leaders of the organization they can make it stop."
Hulbert and his brother Kevin were arrested on a public sidewalk along College Avenue at Lawyer's Mall and charged with disorderly conduct just after 7 p.m. Monday. The incident was captured on video shot by Bryan Sears, a reporter for the Daily Record.
In a written statement, a spokesman for the Maryland Capitol Police said officers were concerned about traffic and pedestrian safety.
"After three requests to move their location to allow for pedestrians to freely use the sidewalk, crosswalks and to reduce conditions for distracted vehicle operators approaching the intersection, two individuals declined and were subsequently arrested," wrote Nick Cavey of the Maryland Department of General Services.
Guidelines published on the Maryland Capitol Police website say First Amendment activity is "generally permissible" in public areas including sidewalks.
Arrested demonstrator Kevin Hulbert said one officer could provide traffic control at the intersection rather than having at least six respond to arrest two demonstrators.
“They can solve the safety issue by being here themselves, not by throwing us out,” Kevin Hulbert said.
The Patriot Pickets are a well-known presence around the State House after three years of demonstrations in Annapolis. The Hulberts said they will return to continue their demonstrations next Monday evening.