Eight members of an environmental group were arrested and charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace Monday after they raised a banner declaring “Climate Change Now” above the iconic Citgo sign in Kenmore Square.
According to Boston Police, officers responded at about 8:03 p.m. to a radio call to investigate the premises at 660 Beacon St. and proceeded to the roof, where the sign is affixed to the building. Police had received information that a group of individuals entered a construction site at that address, which is clearly labeled as an active construction site and surrounded by a wire fence. Upon arrival, however, officers observed that the group had removed the banner after it covered the sign for about 20 minutes.
The incident took place as the Red Sox were facing off against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
Those arrested were reportedly members of the Extinction Rebellion Boston – an offshoot of an environmental group that got its start in the United Kingdom – and were identified by Boston Police as James Comiskey, 30, of Roxbury; Jason Rudokas, 43, of Arlington; Allen McGonagill, 30, of Somerville; Seward Ogden, 60, of Putnam, Vt.; Thomas Davis, 35, of Cambridge; Alexander Chambers, 21, of Boylston; William Livernois, 24, of Newnan; Ga., and Johannes Vulto, 60, of Brookline.
A 57-year-old female from Putney, Vt., and a 56-year-old female from Brooklyn, N.Y., were also summoned to court on charges of trespassing and disturbing the peace, according to Boston Police, and all parties were arraigned Tuesday in Roxbury District Court.
“The First Amendment right to speak and protest freely is one that will be protected in Suffolk County, but the safety of the public and our first responders will not be sacrificed in the process,” District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement. “No right is absolute. Each of these individuals willingly put themselves at great risk by climbing up a structure to execute their plan, and then required numerous members of the Boston Police Department and Boston Fire Department to respond and assist them back to the ground safely. While the charges these individuals face are included on my List of 15 [crimes she has pledged not to prosecute] that are, absent other factors, prioritized for pre-arraignment diversion or declination, my Office never takes these actions without thoughtful consideration of all of the facts present in each case. I have instructed my prosecutors to take additional time to review all of the facts of this incident, all of the risks it created, and the costs that the City of Boston incurred as a result. Once I have that information we will determine next steps in court.”
A representative for Related Beal, the Boston-based firm that is redeveloping the building at 660 Beacon St. into a seven-story, mixed-use office complex, declined to comment on the matter.