KINDERHOOK — Nine protesters who were arrested at the office of U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, in December pleaded guilty to trespassing in Kinderhook Town Court on Monday.
The group, who have named themselves the “Faso nine” were arrested and charged Dec. 18 by state police and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office after refusing to leave while staging a sit-in in Faso’s district office in Kinderhook, 2 Hudson St.
Following are the protesters who were charged:
n Jenifer Benn, 23, of Hudson
n Emma Kreyche, 37, of Cottekill
n Adam Katzman, 36, of Kingston
n Joseph Paparone, 34, of Albany
n Gloria Martinez, 27, of Hudson
n Bryan McCormack, 28, of Valatie
n Scott Langley, 41, of Ghent
n Lisa Noonan, 42, of North Chatham
n Kristine Wimbish, 42, of Kingston
The group initially faced charges from trespassing, a violation; to obstruction of governmental administration, a class A misdemeanor. Each pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of trespassing, a violation; in exchange for guilty pleas Monday.
The nine defendants were ordered by the court to pay $125 in fees and perform five hours of community service.
As part of the December demonstration, the protestors called for a “Clean Dream Act” and a legislative solution for Temporary Protected Status recipients. The group submitted a petition with more than 600 continent signatures to Faso’s office supporting their cause.
“We are here because we dare to stand with the ‘DACAmented’ youth of our community and our nation, while our elected officials inhumanely use their lives as bargaining chips,” MacCormack said Monday.
MaCormack is the coordinator for the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement — an organization that supports immigrants regardless of their immigration status.
“We now stand before you in the backwardness of the injustice system pleading guilty to trespassing on stolen land, while we simultaneously conspire and pledge that our moral obligation to defend our community will be unwavered by the outcome,” MacCormack said.
A fundraiser will be planned in the future to pay for the group’s court fees, according to a post on the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement’s Facebook page.
“I stand here in defense of immigrants and in defense of a country where all people are created equal,” defendant KayCee Wimbush said Monday. “I stand here in opposition to xenophobia, racism and to John Faso. No human being is ever illegal.”
The group of protesters included members of Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, ICE-Free Capital District, Showing Up For Racial Justice Hudson and Ulster, Tin Horn Uprising and others. The action was cosponsored by United We Dream and New York Immigration Coalition.
Faso’s spokesman Joe Gierut declined comment Tuesday.
The case was prosecuted by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.