PHOENIX—Three protesters charged with blocking a road leading to a Trump rally in March have entered into a plea agreement. Michael Cassidy, Stephany Laughlin and Jacinta Gonzalez pled guilty to Obstructing a Highway/Public Thoroughfare, a class 3 misdemeanor. The defendants were ordered to pay a $100.00 fine and complete 10 hours of community restitution.
“You may not agree with another’s ideas, but you do not have the right to attempt to halt their speech,” said County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Further, causing a physical roadblock on a public thoroughfare posed a significant public safety hazard.”
On March 19, 2016, the defendants were part of a group protesting a rally held by presidential candidate Donald Trump in Fountain Hills. They had voluntarily chained themselves to vehicles which were parked intentionally to block Shea Boulevard at Arista Lane, in order to prevent the public from attending the rally.
Laughlin had a chain around her torso and the door frame of an open driver side window of a vehicle. Gonzalez was on the passenger side of the same vehicle and had a U-Lock around her neck and through the door frame of the open passenger side window. Cassidy was attached to a different vehicle with a chain around his torso and the door frame of an open window. All of the defendants had to be cut from their chains and locks using bolt-cutters.