Drew County Judge Robert Akin has issued an order naming new locations for any demonstrations or protests following a protest on September 17 that the Judge says blocked public access to the courthouse, in addition to loud and abusive profanity that was allegedly broadcasted over a megaphone during the protest.
The order, signed by Judge Robert Akin, states the following:
Last Friday, September 17, 2021, I personally witnessed about a dozen people gathered around and near the front (east) door of the Drew County Courthouse, and on the steps and paved drive leading to that door of the Courthouse which is the only public access to the courthouse. Those people purported to carry on a protest or demonstration, and in the process obstructed the public’s access to the Courthouse and it’s several offices, and used loud and abusive profanity that was broadcast and amplified by a megaphone that one of these people had. The actions amounted to an attack on the Drew County Courthouse, and caused many County employees and other in the Courthouse to fear for their personal safety, and interrupted their ability to concentrate on doing their jobs for the People of Drew County.
While I am a firm believer in the American right of protest and to demonstrate, it cannot be allowed to obstruct and interfere with the several governmental operations that are conducted in the Drew County Courthouse, nor should such be allowed to interfere with a citizen’s right to have peaceful access to their County officials and offices.
Pursuant to my authority as Drew County Judge to have custody and control of County Property under Amendment 55,§, 3, of the Arkansas Constitution and other applicable law, I hereby direct and ORDER that hereafter anyone desiring to conducts a protest of demonstration on any part of the premises of the Drew County Courthouse and Detention Facility complex shall do so only on the large lawn area situated in front (on the east side) of the Drew County Detention Facility, and no protest of demonstration shall be conducted on any other part of the premises of the Drew County Courthouse and Detention Facility complex.
Request is made to the Drew County Sheriff and other law enforcement, and to the Prosecuting Attorney, to enforce this order, and to arrest and charge any protestor or demonstrator with criminal trespass who conducts or attempts to conduct a protest or demonstration on areas of the Drew County Courthouse and Detention Facility complex property other than on the large lawn area situated in front of (on the east side) of the Drew County Detention Facility.
It is the intent of this order to prevent obstruction of, and interference with County government operations at the Drew County Courthouse and Detention Facility complex while at the same time protecting the rights of the people to peacefully assemble, protest, or demonstrate.
The order was signed on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 by Drew County Judge Robert Akin.