Jack Gilroy, 79, was led from the courtroom in cuffs and chains on October 1, after being sentenced to 90 days in the county jail for trespass and obstructing governmental administration during an anti-drone protest. The prosecutor had asked the judge to lock Gilroy up for a full year.
Gilroy’s trial was part of a series of events we’re monitoring in upstate DeWitt Town Court, near Syracuse. MQ9 Reaper drones flying missions in Afghanistan are piloted from Hancock Air National Guard Base. It’s been the site of dozens of protests during which scores of activists have been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience actions involving sitting or standing in the driveway to block traffic.
While charges of trespass and obstruction are expected as a result of civil disobedience, several years ago Judge Gideon began imposing Orders of Protection (usually used to keep abusers or stalkers away from people who fear for their safety) on protesters in a clear attempt to vilify them and keep them from protesting. The person they are ordered to stay away from is a commander at the base.
Two activists have been convicted of violating their Orders of Protection: Maryanne Grady Flores for standing across the street from the Air Base photographing a protest; Mark Colville for arriving outside the base to deliver a “People’s Order of Protection for the children of Afghanistan and their families”. Grady Flores was sentenced to a year in jail, but is out on bail, pending appeal. Colville will be sentenced on December 3. Gilroy is appealing his conviction also. See local coverage here.