A lawyer for 17 anti-war grandmothers who were arrested at the Times Square military recruiting station while protesting the war in Iraq asked a judge Tuesday to dismiss their disorderly conduct charges.
Attorney Norman Siegel said the women, including one in her 90s and three in their 80s, had held an orderly protest before their arrests on Oct. 17. He said the charges should be dismissed in the interests of justice.
Assistant District Attorney Karen Corrie told the court that her office was recommending that the defendants be given adjournments in contemplation of dismissal (ACDs). She said this would mean that if they did not get arrested again within six months, the cases against them would be dismissed.
The judge scheduled his decision for March 2.
The women, members of a coalition of about seven groups that call themselves “the Granny Peace Brigade,” said they wanted to enlist in the military to replace grandchildren who had been sent to Iraq.
“The war in Iraq is breaking my heart,” said defendant Eva-Lee Baird, a retired Manhattan art teacher who declined to give her age. “I’m willing to inconvenience myself a little bit to express that.”
All but one of the 17, along with dozens of supporters, were in Manhattan Criminal Court for the hearing. The audience burst into applause when their case was called and they were told to come forward. Some used canes and at least one used a walker.
“The defendants engaged in a peaceful, nonviolent demonstration in full cooperation and with the full knowledge of the police,” Siegel told the court. “They sat down on the ground to publicly express their opposition to the war in Iraq.”
“There is no claim of resisting arrest, acting in a disrespectful manner or doing anything that placed NYPD personnel, the public or themselves in any danger whatsoever,” Siegel said. He said no pedestrian traffic was impeded and no one was prevented from going into the recruiting office.
Siegel requested a police videotape that he said would show the defendants did nothing wrong. The judge ordered the prosecutor to give the tape to the defense.