The incident began when anti-Trump protesters assembled on Exit 47 on Interstate-95 in New Haven, Connecticut in violation of the law against blocking highways or roadways. The protesters grew so unruly when multiple units of police arrived to disperse them that the police had to request backup from state troopers. The situation warranted state troopers to arrive in riot gear.
But the protesters claimed that they were peacefully demonstrating, and, as expected, blamed the police for the violence.
Attorney Patricia Kane, who is representing some of the arrested protesters, seconded this assertion. Kane, who was part of the protest, said it was the police’s fault for the ambulance being blocked since the police didn’t tell the protesters that an emergency vehicle was blocked from the exit to the hospital.
But it is difficult to imagine that the protesters did not hear the sirens on the ambulance blaring. Nevertheless, protesters were slow to disperse from the entrance to the hospital, with one continuing to block the ambulance.
When the police officers tried to guide the protester away from the blocked ambulance, the male protester grew violent, forcing the officers to wrestle him to the ground.
Meanwhile, because of the delay, the patient’s condition grew so dire inside the blocked ambulance that paramedics were forced to perform an emergency medical procedure on the patient.
Unconfirmed reports say that the patient may have been pregnant. The fate of the patient has not been disclosed.
As the police closed in, the sixty-six-year old protester ran, knocking several of his comrades down and was eventually apprehended on a street corner.
A protester named John Lugo claimed that Clement was merely trying to avoid the pepper spray and was not resisting arrest.
“Norman tried to run. Then he got pushed to the ground” by a group of officers, Lugo, one of the organizers of the protest, said.
Clement is charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, interfering with an officer and reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian. He made the $5,000 bail and is scheduled to appear at a New Haven Superior Court on February 13.
Illegally blocking highways is a staple of anti-Trump protests. Groups who’ve organized against the new president have blocked highways in Minneapolis, Portland, several freeways in Los Angeles, a major highway in Phoenix and I-95 in Miami. Two days after Trump won the presidency anti-Trump protesters blocked traffic on an interstate in Denver for 30 minutes.
Nor is the New Haven incident the first time anti-Trump groups have blocked an ambulance. In March, during an attempt to shut down a Trump rally in Chicago, protesters were caught on camera trying to block an ambulance carrying a patient to the hospital.
According to an anonymous Facebook post by a “hospital worker,” protesters in November allegedly caused the death of a father of a 4 year old girl by blocking an ambulance’s access to an emergency room.
“I have to unfacebook for a few days,” the post read. “I had a patient die during the transfer last night because our ambulance was stopped by protesters and had to drive an extra 45 minutes around the blocked road.”
Violence is another feature of the riots. On January 20, protesters attempted to disrupt president-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural ceremony by throwing rocks, flares and “unknown liquids” at the Washington D.C. police. Rioters injured six police officers, and set a limousine on fire. In Oregon, anti-Trump protesters attacked police officers with clubs, while in Seattle, police officers had bricks thrown at them.
New Haven Assistant Police Chief Tony Reyes believes even more violent protests are coming to the town after Saturday’s incident.
“It’s happening,” he said. “We have to be ready to deal with it and try to do it in a way that balances our commitment to community policing while keeping our officers safe.”
Of the incident, Patricia Kane has compared the alleged police brutality inflicted on her and her fellow protesters to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, in particular the 1965 Selma march led by Martin Luther King to protest voter suppression and police brutality against African-Americans.
“The trooper with the dog frightened everybody. The dog jumped on me. Shades of Selma,” said Kane,
This is an insult to the Civil Rights movement. No matter how provoked, Martin Luther King Jr. never egged on violence through a loudspeaker. He never advocated throwing bricks through windows or setting fire to cars. Nor would he have allowed his followers to block hospital entrances.
Anti-Trump protesters have followed the familiar leftist pattern that because their “hearts are in the right place,” anything is justified. They have asserted they are marching to express “support for the vulnerable,” which they list as “minorities, immigrants, women, and members of the L.G.B.T. community.”
But “the vulnerable,” as evidenced by the New Haven incident, doesn’t include critically ill patients.