Hartford ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters appear in court after arrests at protest

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HARTFORD -- A group of protesters who have been trying to highlight police brutality and racial inequality appeared in court Wednesday.

The 17 who were arrested were charged with disorderly conduct after creating a disruption in downtown Hartford on June 8. Their supporters are calling them "the Hartford 17."

The group was arrested for blocking the flow of traffic near the Founders Bridge. This was part of a greater movement, "black lives matter." Before they appeared before the judge, they held a press conference to explain why they did what they did.

“The Hartford 17 took action,” said Bishop John Selders, a Moral Monday CT leader, “because police have abused their power and forged it into a weapon of the state. Police have brutalized black and brown people as a means of consolidating and advancing white supremacy. Black people are targeted, denied due process and murdered.”

Oshun Vicente, one of the Hartford 17, added, “I want my daughter to go swimming where she pleases. I want my sons to make it home every day without interruption. No more target practice on black lives… Not in classrooms, pool sides, sidewalks, political systems, none of it.”

“I wanted to make a declarative statement that state sanctioned killing of people of color by members of police departments will not be tolerated,” added Reverend Cornell Lewis.

They were sentenced to community service.