Protesters angry about the Supreme Courts’ decision overturning Roe v Wade haven’t just been protesting outside the homes of conservative Justices. A handful have also been protesting in Maine outside the home of Leonard Leo, co-chair of the Federalist Society’s board of directors. Today, a man was arrested during a protest after allegedly shouting at Leo while he was with his wife and daughter.
Eli Durand-McDonnell, 23, of Bar Harbor was with other protestors outside Leonard Leo’s home when he was arrested by the Mount Desert Police Department on a charge of disorderly conduct. Leo, a summer resident of Northeast Harbor in the town of Mount Desert, is co-chair of the conservative Federalist Society, which has sought to have conservative judges appointed to the Supreme Court, in part to remove federal protections for the right to abortion…
James Willis, chief of the Mount Desert Police Department said that people have a right to protest outside Leo’s home in an orderly manner but his behavior crossed the line into disorderly conduct.
According to state law, one example of disorderly conduct is when someone “knowingly accosts, insults, taunts or challenges any person with offensive, derisive or annoying words, or by gestures or other physical conduct.”…
“Durand-McDonnell verbally attacked and threatened my 11-year-old daughter,” Leo said. “His arrest is not about engaging in peaceful protest or for insulting me. You can peacefully disagree with my beliefs, but verbally assaulting young children is not a First Amendment right and breaks the law.”
The incident for which Durand-McDonnell was arrested happened earlier in the day somewhere downtown. The arrest happened later in front of Leo’s house. There’s video of the arrest but not of the incident itself. The video shows a man being arrested and handcuffed while a small group of protesters, including the man’s mother, complain that he did nothing wrong.
“What are you charging him with?” one of the protesters demands to know. Several others asked the officer, “Were you there?”
“We have witnesses,” the officer replied.
“Which side are you on? This island or this rich son of a bitch?” the person filming asked.
“I have a duty to uphold the law no matter who it is,” the officer replied.
The man’s mother continued to argue that her son didn’t touch or spit on Mr. Leo.
“Calling him a f**king asshole in front of his child on Main Street, and his wife, saying that he was going to hell,” the officer said.
“How is that illegal,” someone asked. Others chanted, “Free speech.”
“No it’s not, look it up,” the officer said. Here’s the video:
What I don’t see in this video is a claim that the arrestee directed the abuse at an 11-year-old. But clearly the cop wasn’t giving a press conference here. He’s just speaking to an angry group and maybe not relaying everything that happened.
Here’s the Maine law on disorderly conduct. I think the idea here is speech that could incite violence:
In a public or private place, the person knowingly accosts, insults, taunts or challenges any person with offensive, derisive or annoying words, or by gestures or other physical conduct, that would in fact have a direct tendency to cause a violent response by an ordinary person in the situation of the person so accosted, insulted, taunted or challenged;
In this case there was no violence but maybe the officer thought the words were calculated to incite it. Certainly if that kind of language were directed at my 11-year-old daughter it might incite some violence.
Like the group that has been protesting at the Justices’ homes in Virginia and Maryland, this group of protesters is pretty small.
Leonard Leo /.@FedSoc is not welcome in our community or on our island! Mount Desert Island, Maine stands for equal rights, reproductive rights, environmental protections, voting rights for ourselves/our children/grandchildren and beyond …not the hate of those he put on SCOTUS! pic.twitter.com/fJIqVMjc1H
— Lobster Pilates (@LobsterPilates) July 23, 2022
It’s not a big group. I see maybe a dozen people at the protest below and that was on the day the decision to overturn Roe was announced.
— Lobster Pilates (@LobsterPilates) June 25, 2022
If they don’t cross a few lines, most people wouldn’t even know they were there. Now that he’s been arrested there will probably be some follow up. Maybe we’ll get a look at the police report describing exactly what happened here.